State targets forgotten treasures

The government is eyeing billions of euros in revenues from unused assets and properties, with the Finance Ministry intending to sift through a series of cases that could serve to replenish state coffers.

Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras appointed on Thursday three university professors for the investigation of the respective assets: inactive deposits, national legacies and vacant inheritances.

According to a 1942 law, any bank accounts that remain idle for more than 20 years are deemed inactive and their deposits come under the state?s ownership. Their current level is not known.

Legacies to the state number about 11,000 and have an estimated value of 10 billion euros in total. In the long term they could fetch about 2 billion euros per year. Unused inheritances number about 3,000 and add up to some 4 billion euros. Most of the legacies and inheritances remain idle as the processing of a vacant inheritance by its Finance Ministry-appointed guardian can take over 30 years. A big problem has been that guardians are appointed from a list that is not updated, and the guardian?s work is not evaluated.

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