Lagarde's insensitive comments, which she made during an interview with the Guardian
, provoked a storm of anger amongst Greeks, drawing international support to their plight.
Even former Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, who worked closely with the IMF to agree to implement austerity measures in Greece, reacted to Lagarde's remarks, saying
“Nobody should humiliate a people during a crisis and I call on Mrs Lagarde, who insulted the Greek people with her attitude, to rethink what she wanted to say.”
Despite calls for Lagarde to apologize it has been left to the IMF to speak on her behalf. Wset
reports that the IMF has said Lagarde "is expressing regrets for her comments about Greek suffering amid the country's debt crisis" and has told the IMF board that "she regrets that her remarks were misunderstood and caused offense."
Lagarde had already attempted to temper her remarks by saying her comments were directed towards wealthy tax evaders, but her actual remarks sounded more like a gloat that Greeks were suffering payback time for mass tax evasion.
The Wall Street Journal
reported IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said the IMF has "great respect for Greece and the people and the sacrifices that many are making to overcome the economic crisis" adding "We are deeply aware that Greece continues to face daunting and difficult situation."
was exposed when it was revealed that her extortionate IMF salary is tax -free yet she saw fit to lecture people suffering under austerity on the need to pay their taxes.