Closely watched property auctions resume in Greece on Wed.

9 January 2018
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The first scheduled auctions of foreclosed properties, including movable assets such as seized ferry boats, commence on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, with the process under close scrutiny ahead of Greek systemic banks’ “stress tests” in February – months before other credit institutions in the euro zone.

No less than 240 auctions are scheduled at various local courts (eirinodikia) around the country, along with 26 “electronic auctions” – a process long viewed as radically streamlining the bureaucracy-laden process and avoiding protests and mobilizations against auctions.

One of the more iconic assets on the (electronic) auction block is the high-speed “Aiolos Kenteris I” passenger ferry, which was seized by a creditor – Piraeus Bank – for non-performing arrears totaling 6.5 million euros.

Another prominent property up for auction is a 380-square-meter apartment located on a main intersection three blocks from Syntagma Square and Parliament, due to obligations by is owner reaching 1.31 million euros.

According to reports, all of the foreclosed real estate up for auction on Wednesday are valued at more than 300,000 euros, and none are described as “primary residences”.

Various far-left and anti-capitalist groups have joined forces over the past few months to prevent auctions from taking place at local courts each Wednesday, mobilizations often punctuated by violence. The focal point for such protests is the local courts complex in central Athens, located behind Greece’s supreme court and main appeals courts buildings.

Successfully holding auctions in order to add this “ingredient” to a mix of measures aimed at reducing the “mountain” of bad debt held by Greece’s systemic banks is under the Single Supervisory Mechanism’s (SSM) “microscope”. Failure to drain enough capital from property and asset auctions means that Greek banks will have to raise new capital to cover provisions in their balance sheets.

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