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Society

Austrian Investor Stiffed Over Devalued Greek Bonds Can’t Sue

July 5, 2018

An Austrian man who bought 35,000 euros ($40,906) in Greek bonds that were devalued 74 percent in 2012 – nearly wiping out many in the Diaspora who invested too – can’t sue Greece in his home country, an adviser to the European Court of Justice said.

The court was sent the case by the EU after Leo Kuhn first tried to sue Greece after the bond exchange program brought by then-Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a failed bid to slow Greece’s rising debt.

His lawyers argued that under EU rules, he had the right to sue Greek authorities in Austria because the deal was a “civil and commercial matter” for which special rules applied, the news agency Reuters said.

Advocate General Yves Bot said this was not the case, as the forced exchange of bonds had happened in exceptional circumstances in which Greece faced default and the stability of the Eurozone was at stake and essentially that investors didn’t matter no matter how severe their losses.

“Such a case is not a ‘civil or commercial’ matter for the purposes of that regulation,” said the Advocate General, whose views are not binding but are usually followed by the court.

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