BUSINESS

Social security debtors’ pre-1997 assets go under the microscope

ROULA SALOUROU

TAGS: Finance

Bank accounts, lists of property assets (including those transferred to third parties), as well as acceptances of inheritance are being examined by the Center for the Collection of Social Security Arrears (KEAO) in order to establish which old debts created pre-1997 could still be claimed by the state.

The process is particularly time-consuming and the aim of the KEAO officials is to identify by the end of the year debts of 2 billion euros that are impossible to collect, out of the total 31.86 billion on the KEAO register.

It is estimated that another four years will be required to inspect all of those debts and possibly set aside over 50 percent of them as noncollectible.

At the same time the collection process for the rest is ongoing. So far, only 828 cases have been considered noncollectible, adding up to 120 million euros.

The Labor and Social Security Ministry is seeking the acceleration of the process to find out whether there are any possible sources of revenues from arrears that have been there for years: Out of the total 31.86 billion euros, 15.3 billion euros’ worth of debt was created before 2009. The ministry is also pressing for the focus to be placed on strategic defaulters.

KEAO is focusing its inspection on major debtors as, despite the years that have passed, those arrears could still be claimed and collected. Therefore officials are closely examining the bank accounts of debtors with arrears of over 100,000 euros (numbering 41,598 enterprises and individuals) as well as the accounts of those who have accepted inheritance.

There is also a focus on debtors’ real estate assets and their property transactions with third parties before their enterprise went bankrupt.

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