Athens to help track accounts of US citizens

By Tom Ellis

Greece is determined to cooperate with Washington in order to fully enforce the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA), according to which all credit institutions operating outside the US will from now on have to inform American authorities of their transactions with US citizens regarding accounts and investment products. This obligation applies as of July 1.

Well aware of the significance the US attributes to this issue, Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis has informed Washington of his intention to personally undertake the completion of a bilateral state agreement as soon as possible, expected to be completed by the end of the year. He has already contacted his American counterpart, Jack Lew, in order to get the process started.

In practical terms this means that from now on US citizens opening a bank account in Greece will trigger the mechanism informing their country’s authorities of their actions. This concerns both accounts in Greek or non-US banks in this country as well as those in branches of US lenders that may operate in Greece.