Christiana Stilianidou
Transparency backsliding in new legislation on asset declarations
27 • 02 • 2023

New legislation regulating asset declarations removes the obligation to declare any cash over EUR 30,000 and any movable assets over EUR 40,000. This raises concerns as it appears not to promote but rather to undermine the full disclosure of assets and the goal of increased transparency.

Article 2 of Law 3213/2003 had provided that all cash in excess of thirty thousand (30,000) euros and any movable assets whose value exceeds the amount of forty thousand (40,000) euros including VAT, should be included in asset declarations.

The explanatory memorandum accompanying the law introducing these provisions stated that the provisions aimed at a more complete recording of the financial situation of those liable to make a declaration (see p. 58). Law 4571/2018 later redefined the value limits of cash and assets that should be declared, and the explanatory memorandum stated that the inclusion of cash and high value movable assets in asset declarations can help to increase transparency. The memorandum explains further that there is a strong need, in line with international standards, to maintain an obligation to declare high value moveable assets as this obligation is a common feature of systems focusing on the detection of unjust enrichment.

Where is the problem with the rule of law?

The submission of asset declarations is aimed at securing more effective control over the management of public money, enhancing transparency, detecting, preventing or suppressing corruption and strengthening democracy.

The obligation to declare cash in excess of EUR 30,000 and movable assets in excess of EUR 40,000 was provided for in Law 3213/2003 in order to reflect more fully the (actual) financial situation of the individual in question. This provision was intended to increase transparency and to facilitate the identification of any unjustified (based on the legal income of the person) changes in the financial situation of the individual.

The retraction of this obligation in Law 5026/2023 could be considered as a step backwards in transparency legislation.

Christiana Stilianidou
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