A 1950 law discourages investments in Greece

15 October 2018

An old-fashioned law of the Greek penal code dated back to 1950 prevents private actors from investing in projects where the public sector also has a share, thus blocking a potential investment boom the country badly needs.

Following eight years of austerity-driven policies and economic stagnation, Greece exited the bailout in August. Based on the bailout terms, the leftist government vowed to improve the business environment to attract much-awaited investments and follow a pro-growth path.

However, investors are faced with the lack of a modernised investment framework. An example is a 1950 law whose provisions stipulate even life sentences on the ground of causing damage to public property.

Under the privatisation programme, a number of public assets are about to be sold. The problems arise when a private investor enters a company that is being privatised but the state also has a share.

The Greek state is often the majority owner or shareholder in all big projects in the country.

In case of a “wrong decision” on a management level, a simple complaint by competitors or anyone could trigger the 1608/1950 law on the ground of damage to public property and could even result in lifelong sentences for private investors.

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