10 Jul 2015

Former Greek government secretary admits to having bogus MBA

The Greek state secretary for industry in the run-up to its debt crisis, who supervised a 5.5bn euro recession loan plan, has an MBA from a bogus university, Channel 4 News reveals.

George Anastasopoulos, the state secretary for communications and later industry between 2007-2009, widely cites his MBA qualification from the unaccredited “Chadwick University”, a Channel 4 News investigation has found.

Chadwick University’s operations were discontinued indefinitely last year. Previously based in Alabama, it has become so notorious that the use of Chadwick degrees to seek employment is illegal in Texas and banned in other states.

Mr Anastasopolous states on his LinkedIn profile that he has supervised billions in spending in the run-up to the Greek debt crisis, some involving European Union funds.

While the former state secretary does hold a genuine PhD in engineering from Northwestern University, his bogus MBA is his only business qualification.

On LinkedIn, Mr Anastasopoulos states that as state secretary for industry he developed a “resession [sic] emergency plan for SMEs [small and medium sized enterprises]”.

The plan included the use of a pool of European Union development funds to provide loans to 77,000 Greek businesses, totalling €9.5 billion in funds in two phases, among which he supervised €5.5 billion.

He previously served as secretary of state for communications, where he says that he managed: “Digital Development EU projects related to telecoms (300 mils euro).”

Mr Anastasopoulos also states on his LinkedIn page that he represented Greece at EU summits as a Minister.

‘Knew it was unaccredited’

When asked whether his business qualification was bogus, Mr Anastasopoulos told Channel 4 News: “When I took Chadwick courses through distance learning, I was already a graduate student at Northwestern University, USA. I knew that it was unaccredited but I wanted to enhance my knowledge on Business issues.”

Mr Anastasopoulos appears to have completed the unaccredited MBA at the same time as undertaking his engineering PhD, which he says counts as a business qualification.

He didn’t respond to questions about whether his MBA helped him secure his position in government.

I didn’t have the impression that it was scam, but it was clear from the first moment that it was not a accredited distance learning program… If you noticed in my CV I never claimed that it was an accredited program
George Anastasopoulos

Prior to becoming a state secretary, Mr Anastasopoulos himself worked in personnel certification. He claims on his LinkedIn that he was “Responsible for development of Personnel Certification services all over Europe,” in a role at a non-profit organisation.

He has also served as the general secretary of the International Personnel Certification Association.

‘Never accredited’

Chadwick University has never been recognized as a government-sanctioned university by official accreditation bodies that guarantee the quality of universities.

Chadwick did have a licence from the state of Alabama to act as a private school, but at a time when Alabama had lax regulation on setting up private schools and didn’t review the quality of all private post-secondary education.

The state began requiring more rigour from its schools in 2007 and and Chadwick ceased being recognised that same year. Chadwick notes on its own website that its accreditator is “not affiliated with any government agency.”

George Gollin, a University of Illinois expert on unaccredited institutions, told Channel 4 News: “The degrees are academically meaningless, though some of Chadwick’s customers will no doubt claim to have done some work in addition to forking over the payments required to obtain a Chadwick diploma.”

Mr Gollin adds: “Chadwick was never accredited by recognized bodies, though I believe it did claim accreditation from a pair of accreditation mills: the ‘International Association of Universities and Schools’ and the ridiculous ‘World Association of Universities and Colleges,’ whose owner claimed to have discovered the lost continent of Atlantis.

The fact that [Chadwick] would link itself to bogus credentialing organizations is enough to assure us that Chadwick was a fake
George Gollin

It is unclear whether Mr Anastasopoulos acquired the same level of knowledge as would be expected from an official MBA degree, but he does say that he studied the materials he was sent and that his tests were graded.

His LinkedIn page is available to view online.