Landmark ruling favors investors

In a landmark ruling made public yesterday, an Athens court found in favor of two investors who lost nearly 200,000 euros through a share investment company between 1999 and 2001, ordering Greece’s Capital Market Commission to make good a large chunk of their losses. The ruling could pave the way for up to 200,000 minor stock market investors to claim back their lost savings, which evaporated when the Athens stock market crashed after its 1999 bubble. An administrative court of first instance heard that the two men had signed several contracts with a share investment firm between November 1999 and 2001. The agreements stipulated a guaranteed return on investor’s money. The unnamed company was based in Luxembourg but was the subsidiary of a Greek firm. Until December 2000, a Greek investment company with links to another Athens-based stock investment firm was a shareholder in the Luxembourg-based business. The two investors signed contracts with the Athens-based firm in November 2001 whereby they pumped 190,000 euros into share portfolios, which the firm was to manage. The men eventually lost all their money. The court has now ruled that the Capital Market Commission (CMC) is liable for the losses the two investors suffered since, in the period in question, it was responsible for monitoring the investment companies operating on the bourse. The court added that it is illegal for investment firms to offer guaranteed returns on share investments. The CMC has been ordered to pay 158,570 euros to the two investors as compensation.