Court rules seizure of debtors’ deposits without notification constitutional

The Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, on Monday ruled that the state and insurance funds are within their rights to seize the contents of bank accounts belonging to individuals who owe them money without notification.

Monday’s ruling by a panel of seven judges, which paves the way for en masse seizure of deposits, salaries, pensions, rent payments, etc, reverses an earlier judgement by a panel of five in March ruling that seizures are unconstitutional if account holders do not receive prior notification.

The final decision issued Monday states that the notification of debtors defeats the purpose of the measure as it would give them time to empty their accounts or transfer their deposits to a third party. It added that debtors are notified when they are in arrears and also know that steps can be taken to retrieve the money from the very next day that a payment deadline expires.