The Council of State, Greece’s supreme administrative court, on Monday threw out a Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) prescribing the content of wealth and assets declarations as invalid, during an emergency session. The court found that the JMD, signed by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, was invalid for all classes of individuals required to submit a wealth and assets declaration, not just for judges.
Sources at the justice ministry told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) that “the government will return to this issue and everyone will be audited for everything.”
CoS President Nikos Sakellariou published the decision reached by the CoS plenum and accepted petitions to find the JMD invalid, submitted by all judges’ associations.
The plenum found that the following measures or omissions in the JMD were not in line with the law for all persons submitting wealth and asset declarations:
1. The requirement to declare all amounts in cash exceeding 15,000 euros that were not deposited in a bank account, or movable assets worth more than 30,000 euros.
2. The lack of a reasonable deadline for carrying out and completing audits and for keeping the personal data of those obliged to submit declarations.
3. The obligation to include all assets in the annual declaration, regardless of whether there had been any change with respect to the previous year.
4. The lack of provision to not include the purchase price for assets acquired in previous years in the first electronic declaration.
5. The obligation to declare assets belonging to persons with which the individual submitting a declaration has signed a cohabitation agreement.
6. The obligation, regarding amounts in bank accounts, of adding the income from different sources throughout the year and then outlining the sources from which the amount remaining on December 31 is derived and precise amount corresponding to each once withdrawals are subtracted, without defining from which source the person submitting the declaration might the subtract the sums withdrawn.
According to the justices, these serious flaws and the structure of the electronic submission system mean that the JMD must be considered invalid as a whole.