Criminal Law Developments in Greece

Anagnostakis Law Offices are engaged in a broad range of criminal practice, primarily dealing with cases before the European Court of Human rights (Strasbourg). The Law Offices are also affiliated with the European Criminal Association (ECBA) and the partners have, accordingly, established a network of correspondent relationships with international law offices.

In addition, the firm also handles cases of human rights violations, often in cooperation with Amnesty International and other human rights NGOs.

Andreas Anagnostakis, partner at Anagnostakis Law Offices, noted that an unprecedented wave of economic measures is sweeping over Greece, and the country is under economic collapse.
“However,” he said, “one oft-neglected side effect of this is the sudden increase in crime, particularly economic crimes.”

According to recent statistics, in the years since the start of the downturn, there was a 16% increase in theft and burglary. At the same time, crimes pertaining to economic fraud – for example, forgery cases – increased by 38%.
The total value regarding void cheques reached EUR 712 million compared to EUR 237 million during the same period last year. Further, the situation is constantly deteriorating as the crisis is entering its most difficult stages for the citizen, the family man and the businessman.

“The justice system’s response to this unfamiliar outbreak of economic crime is constrained and ineffective,” said Mr. Anagnostakis, adding: “The impermissible severity of the penalties and the abandonment of the principle of leniency have been considered a fact for many years now. One characteristic example is the ability, and many times the imposition of life imprisonment for economic crimes against the State.

“However in no circumstances, could such a situation deal with the multi-faceted causes of the crisis.”

According to Mr. Anagnostakis, the road to recovery as well as a remedy for the situation are likely to only be found through the rationalisation and humanitarianism of the justice systems.

He noted: “The recent wave of strong protests in Greece is a reminder that the establishment can impose stringency, albeit to a point before the people revolt.

“Even if we were to accept that the deficit should be decreased and the loans reimbursed, no one can be entirely certain which of the two will come first: economic recovery or social uprising.”