Action against foreclosures benefitting strategic defaulters

Action against foreclosures benefitting strategic defaulters

The systematic weekly efforts of activist groups to stop planned foreclosures at Greek courts appear to have moved beyond solidarity, with low-income citizens facing eviction to the protection of wealthy property owners and strategic loan defaulters, Kathimerini understands.

A statement issued on Friday by the union representing notaries in Athens, Piraeus, the Aegean and Dodecanese islands, expressed exasperation over a recent spate of initiatives by activists opposing foreclosures on homes, noting that the auctions in question related to people owing millions of euros. The union said it condemned “once again the repeated attacks of the self-proclaimed ‘collectives’ on notaries, every Wednesday, at county courts across the country, while foreclosures are being carried out.” It noted that the foreclosures being targeted were not on primary residences and did not concern low-income or even medium-income Greeks.

Last Wednesday, the union said in its statement, the targeted foreclosures related to a residence in the affluent Athens neighborhood of Psychico, belonging to the son of an industrialist with debts of 1.2 million euros, and a commercial property in Rouf belonging to an entrepreneur with debts of 2 million euros.

According to sources, the problem with the actions of “collectives” is particularly acute in certain areas such as on Crete and Corfu. The vice president of a Rethymno-based collective, Manolis Stayoyiannis, has been detained in connection with the abduction of Cretan businessman Michalis Lebidakis who was freed last week after six months in captivity.

Suggesting that certain activists involved in stopping foreclosures represent larger interests, the union of notaries said its members would continue to do their job and issue a weekly announcement with details of which foreclosures are halted.

Greek courts have handled around 5,600 foreclosures this year, Kathimerini understands, the smallest number of foreclosures in the past nine years except for last year when there were just 4,800 chiefly due to protracted strike action by lawyers and notaries. In 2009, before the crisis hit, there were 52,000 foreclosures in Greece.

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