Washington: Greece slipped deeper into its financial abyss after the bailout programme it has relied on for five years expired at midnight on Tuesday and the country failed to repay a loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
With its failure to repay the roughly 1.6 billion euros (1.8 billion US dollars) to the IMF, Greece became the first developed country to fall into arrears on payments to the fund.
"I confirm that the SDR 1.2 billion repayment due by Greece to the IMF today has not been received," said Fund spokesman Gerry Rice yesterday.
"We have informed our executive board that Greece is now in arrears and can only receive IMF financing once the arrears are cleared," Rice added.
After a long day of failed attempts to resuscitate its bailout financing deal with the European Union, Greece had made a last-minute request to the IMF to have the payment, due by 2200 GMT yesterday, extended.
Rice confirmed the request but the board did not rule on it.The extension request "will go to the IMF's Executive Board in due course," he said.
The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.