A retail investor in Greek bonds who wants to sue Greece over a bond haircut in 2012 cannot invoke European Union rules to do so at home, an adviser to the EU’s top court said on Wednesday.
The case was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union by an Austrian court after Leo Kuhn, an Austrian who had bought 35,000 euros’ worth of Greek bonds, tried to sue Greece following a forced exchange into bonds with a lower value at the height of the Greek debt crisis in 2012.
His lawyers argued that under EU rules, he had the right to sue Greek authorities in Austria because the deal was a “civil and commercial matter” for which special rules applied.
Advocate General Yves Bot said this was not the case, as the forced exchange of bonds had happened in exceptional circumstances in which Greece faced default and the stability of the eurozone was at stake.
“Such a case is not a ‘civil or commercial’ matter for the purposes of that regulation,” said the advocate general, whose views are not binding but are usually followed by the court.