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Greece: Criminal justice system inadequate to counter corruption

Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) Strasbourg 18 December 2019
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Greece: Criminal justice system inadequate to counter corruption

Following heavy criticism against Greece from the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for having downgraded and softened its anti-corruption legislation, GRECO published a report today concluding that the Greek government has to some extent re-introduced more appropriate sanctions in this respect.

In June this year, the Greek Parliament downgraded bribery of public officials from a felony offence to a misdemeanour, thus introducing more lenient criminal sanctions for such crimes. GRECO and the OECD reacted strongly to these measures and opened joint “ad-hoc” procedures, including dialogue with the Minister of Justice and other Greek officials, which resulted in the reintroduction, to some extent, of stronger criminal legislation in respect of bribery offences as of 18 November 2019.

Despite this positive development, GRECO notes with concern that the June downgrading will have longstanding retroactive consequences in Greece in respect of corruption offences committed by public officials before 18 November 2019, which still will be considered as misdemeanours.


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