What we have been reading about the decision that the Greek finance ministry may grab money from bank accounts without the holder’s permission came true. A Greek jobless, father of three, saw his last 129 euro disappear from his bank account and thus without previous warning or his explicit permission.
This is possible after Greece’s General Secretariat for Information Systems has completed
an application that will allow the state’s monitoring and collection mechanism to access the country’s banking system via an online connection and let the government have access to depositor bank accounts.
The Finance Ministry is now not only be able to monitor any transaction via credit cards, money transfer, cashed cheques without the permission of the account holder. It is also able to order the bank to withdraw the money owned to the state from the debtor’s account. No matter how small the debt is. Then the big debtors normally escape the state grasp: they have deposited their money and assets to off-shore banks.
€129,30 gone to tax office
The following story was reported by the concerned citizen live to local radio of Kavala in Northern Greece. The story was confirmed live on the radio not only by the president of the local Lawyers’ Association but also by the repserentative of bank employees’ union.
“The man closed down his shop three years ago due to economic crisis. He and his wife had been jobless ever since. They have three children. They come through life by the economic aid given to them by relatives and some charity programs.
The man had a debt of 300 euro to the local tax office.
The family had a bank account with a deposit of 129,30 euro. The account had also the names of two more holders, one of them being his father.
On day, when he went to the bank to pick up the money in order to travel to Thessalonki for a medical check – he suffers from heart failure- the man saw that the money was gone!
The 129,30 euro were grabbed by the tax office for the debt of 300 euro.
Narrowly escaping a heart attack, the man fought for his rights. At the very end, the bank apologized for transferring the whole amount to the tax office and not only 1/3 due to the other two holders.
What if the law orders that no confiscations from bank accounts should be made, if the account has less than 1,000 euro?
The bank employees’ representative state to the radio program, that only in one bank branch 600 account confiscations have taken place and thus that some account had only 26 or 30 euro.
The moment the story was broadcast and confirmed, angry citizens started to call the radio and report of similar confiscations. A farmer said, the bank had confiscated 400 euro she owned to Farmers’ Pension Fund, leaving her with only 25 euro.
The Lawyers’ association could not convincingly declare why the confiscations take place usually following a court order without previous notification of the debtor.
For a simple reason: so that the debtor would not withdraw the money from the bank account. (via Kartesios blog, posted 28.Feb2013)
Consumers organizations in Kavala state that such practices were illegal and that no bank account amount below 1,000 euro could be confiscated. The reasoning of the law was that no pension, salary or allowance/benefits below 1,000 euro can be confiscated as such an amount is being considered as essential to secure a minimum living standard.
During a session of the economic committee at the Greek Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, the MPs were discussing a report issued by the Greek Treasury, dated beginning of February. One of the report proposals was that the “not-confiscated amount cap should be lowered from 1,000 euro currently down to 600 euro. When MPs from the opposition sought the relevant law provision they found out, there wasn’t any!
Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavragannis told them there cannot be any confiscation below 1,000 euro.
More on state’s monitoring and collection mechanism to access depositors’ bank accounts, read on zerohedge.