Greece Will Speed Pace of Property Confiscations of State Debtors

The National Herald

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yorgos Kontarinis, FILE)

ATHENS – People who owe money to the Greek government and can't, or wouldn't, pay will start seeing properties seized as well as bank accounts confiscated and assets frozen, apart from those who have hidden their money in foreign bank accounts to avoid paying taxes and aren't being chased or prosecuted.

The ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition, with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras not fulfilling a promise to hunt down tax cheats in any good measure, has authorized a faster pace of taking properties with 31 auctions set from Oct. 17-Dec. 19, said Kathimerini, a number that is expected to grow rapidly.

There are some 1.7 million tax debtors, many of whom can't pay because of big pay cuts, slashed pensions, worker firings and an avalanche of new taxes and tax hikes, as well as Tsipras keeping and increasing the hated ENFIA property tax surcharge he swore to end before succumbing to demands of the country's international creditors.

Data analysis shows that November is the month with the highest number of online auctions scheduled, while the properties of debtors that the state will put up for sale will number more than 100 by the end of the year, the paper said.

The starting price at each auction will be the market value of each property as determined by a court official or a chartered surveyor. Many properties, including those empty because renters can't be found during a more than eight-year-long economic and austerity crisis, are being unfairly valued higher than they are worth so people can be taxed more, critics said.

Debtors can still stop the auction process for their own assets, as well as the imposition of any other forced measures if they enter into 12- or 24-installment repayment schemes (depending on the type of debt) and pay the amount due every month.