Fresh clash between gov’t, judges over asset declarations


A new clash broke out on Friday between the government and the judiciary after the Council of State indicated that Greek judges would not abide by a ministerial decision obliging them to submit their source of wealth declarations (“pothen esches”) in the same way as journalists, public servants and others. 

According to the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, judges should submit their pothen esches declarations to a body comprising three top judges, not to the country’s anti-money laundering authority and Parliament’s pothen esches committee where journalists and others send their declarations.

“No one is going to oblige us to give up our legal rights,” four judges’ unions said in a joint statement.

A Council of State ruling earlier this week had deemed that a ministerial decision requiring that pothen esches declarations also include details about cash and other valuables kept in homes or safe deposit boxes at banks is unconstitutional.

The government subsequently withdrew this provision, noting however that purchases in excess of 30,000 euros must be declared. 

A ruling issued by Council of State president Nikos Sakellariou, however, deemed that judges and prosecutors are not bound by any such provisions.

It underlined the need for a ministerial decision that stipulates that judges’ pothen esches declarations should be inspected by a three-member judicial council.