1. Scope of regulation.
Law of 28 February 2023 No. 5026 “On Declaration of Assets and Financial Interest, Measures for Strengthening the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and other Urgent Measures” (Υποβολή των δηλώσεων περιουσιακής κατάστασης (πόθεν έσχες) και οικονομικών συμφερόντων Ρυθμίσεις για την ενίσχυση της Ευρωπαϊκής Εισαγγελίας Λοιπές επείγουσες ρυθμίσεις) imposes the obligation to disclose assets and interest on:
- Members of the government, ministers, deputy ministers, leaders of political parties, deputies and managers of financial assets of political parties;
- General and special secretaries of Parliament (Βουλής) and the General Government (Γενικής Κυβέρνησης), and support political staff;
- Officials of the bodies of decentralised administrations (administrative and territorial units in Greece, note of the author) and local government bodies, in particular, governors and mayors;
- Heads of public bodies, public corporations and state-owned enterprises;
- Civil servants responsible for issuing licences and authorizations and/or exercising control and oversight functions;
- Persons responsible for public procurement;
- Judges, prosecutors and other officials of the judiciary;
- Officials of the Bank of Greece (Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος) and other credit institutions;
- Owners, shareholders and heads of the media, journalists;
- Military commanders of the National Defence General Staff (Γενικού Επιτελείου Εθνικής Άμυνας), General Staff of the army (Γενικών Επιτελείων Στρατού) and other similar entities;
- Officials of law enforcement agencies;
- Officials of tax, financial control and oversight authorities;
- Presidents, members of boards of directors, shareholders of sport federations and organisations, referees;
- Heads of medical institutions and some other categories of individuals.
The above-listed persons must submit information on assets and interest of their spouses, cohabitees and minor children.
2. Content of declarations.
Asset declarations must contain the information on:
- The declarant, including personal data, information on his/her professional activities, tax ID number and other general information;
- The assets owned and/or possessed by the declarant either in Greece or abroad, including their value, manner of acquisition, and in the case of acquisition of a new asset, on the sources of the means with which the assets have been acquired/increased.
The assets subject to disclosure include:
- Income from any sources;
- Property and property rights to it with its precise identification;
- Shares of national and foreign companies and mutual funds and all kind of derivative financial instruments, bonds and debt obligations, in particular, loan commitments to domestic and foreign credit and/or financial institutions, other legal persons of public and private law whose volume exceeds € 5,000;
- Deposits in banks, savings banks and other credit and financial institutions, insurance products, investments in business and/or investment funds and trusts;
- Safes rented from domestic and/or foreign credit institutions and/or companies that provide such services;
- Vehicles, including vessels and aircrafts;
- Shares in the authorized capital of companies and/or other forms of participation;
- Fines, contributions to legal persons under public law, contributions to social welfare organisationы and other relevant payments whose amount exceeds € 5,000.
Interest declarations submitted together with asset declarations must contain the information on:
- Professional activities of the declarant;
- Participation of the declarant in administering legal persons, associations and the like;
- Any paid regular activities that the declarant undertakes in parallel with his/her professional duties in the quality of both employee and self-employed;
- Any other paid secondary activities of the declarant if the total amount of remuneration exceeds € 10,000 for a calendar year;
- Participation of the declarant in an organisation and/or joint venture if this participation can affect the exercise of his/her professional duties;
- Any financial interest that can lead to a real or potential conflict of interest; a conflict of interest in this context means a situation where personal interest of the official affects or can affect the faithful execution of his/her professional duties except for the cases where the individual benefits only as a citizen or a member of a different wider category of individuals;
- Interests inserted in the Transparency Register (Μητρώο Διαφάνειας) where representatives of interests (lobbyists) are registered and the information on their activities affecting public decision making is indicated;
- For the individuals holding elective offices: financial support provided by third parties in relation to their public activities in the event that its total amount exceeds € 3,000 for a calendar year.
3. Procedure for submitting and verifying declarations.
Declarations are submitted in electronic form only via a single electronic application (https://www.pothen.gr/). The declarant can request the system to automatically provide tax declarations, property information and data from credit and financial institutions.
Declarations must be submitted within 90 days from the appointment (election) to the office, annually throughout the period in the office, and two years (three years for certain positions) after the termination. If necessary, declarants can update their declarations within 30 days from the submission of the initial version. In case of failure to file declarations by the set deadline, the system will require declarants to pay a state fee of up to € 400.
The functions to collect and store declarations rest with the General Secretariat of Information Systems (Γενική Γραμματεία Πληροφοριακών Συστημάτων), while the obligation to verify declarations and provide advice to declarants rests with the Audit Committee (Επιτροπή Ελέγχου).
As per the Law, five per cent of declarations must be verified within the first year from its adoption, six per cent within the second year and at least seven per cent thereafter. The sample includes mandatory declarations, i.e. declarations of a number of senior officials and individuals against whom complaints have been lodged or investigation has been initiated, and additional declarations, selected on the basis of existing corruption risks, data from internal and external sources of information or, in exceptional cases, in accordance with other criteria that will be defined by the Audit Committee annually and prior to the start of the time period for filing declarations.
Declarations of senior officials, in particular, members of the government, ministers etc., as well as governors and mayors will be published on the website of Parliament and the Audit Committee.
4. Liability measures.
The Law also introduces liability measures for the failure to comply with the requirements, in particular:
- Failure to submit a declaration and to timely file a declaration or submission of knowingly false information are punished by a deprivation of liberty of at least one year and a fine;
- Concealment of property whose value exceeds € 30,000 is punished by a deprivation of liberty of at least two years and a fine ranging between 1,000 and 5,000 daily intakes (the amount of daily intake is between € 10 and € 100);
- Concealment of property whose value exceeds € 300,000 is punished by a deprivation of liberty for a period of up to ten years and a fine between 1,000 and 10,000 daily intakes (the amount of daily intake ranges from € 20 to € 100);
- Refusal to register in the single electronic application to file a declaration and obstruction of verification of declarations are punished by a deprivation of liberty of at least six months;
- Violation of confidentiality of data of declarants is punished by a deprivation of liberty of at least three months;
- Assistance in submission of knowingly false information is punished by a deprivation of liberty of at least six months and a fine;
- Failure of obliged persons to report a violation or an attempt to violate the requirements of the Law is punished by a deprivation of liberty of up to two years.
Additionally, if the individual accused of concealment of property does not prove the legal origin of the non-declared assets, the latter can be forfeited as per the court decision in the sentence for the relevant offence.
The legal act abolishes previous Law of 31 December 2003 No. 3213 “On Declaration and Audit of Property of the Members of Parliament, Civil Servants, Media Owners and Other Categories of Individuals” (Νόμος ν. 3213/2003 Δήλωση και έλεγχος περιουσιακής κατάστασης βουλευτών, δημόσιων λειτουργών και υπαλλήλων, ιδιοκτητών μέσων μαζικής ενημέρωσης και άλλων κατηγοριών προσώπων) except for article 8 (a) and articles 9 to 12 (paragraphs b) in terms of implementation of article 8.