Greece loosens Capital Control measures

Greece | March 2016 |

Recently, the Greek Finance Minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, announced new modifications to the still -in-force capital controls regime introduced nearly eight months ago.

Herein below we present a summary of the main capital control lifts, as published in the Hellenic Government Gazette B (684/15.03.2015), and applicable as of March 15th, 2016:

1. The monthly limit for transferring money abroad for individuals has been increased from €500 to €1,000 per customer.
2. The threshold for outward transactions of legal entities or businessmen executed within their business scope has been increased to €10,000 from €5,000. The limit of €10,000 applies per customer per day and upon presentation of the relevant invoices and supporting documentation.
3. While opening of new bank accounts was generally not permitted with very few exceptions, the latest changes now allow the opening of new bank accounts in the below cases:
o To serve legal persons, individual businesses and freelancers, who until now had no account with any bank operating in Greece.
o To transfer the payroll management account of any employer from one financial institution to another provided that the employer already holds an account at the second financial institution. Following, the opening of bank accounts for the employees is also permitted, and they will have the right to withdraw money only from one of the two financial institutions, unless they already hold accounts at both banks.
o Students may now open a bank account or be added to existing bank accounts as joint holders, provided that the place of study is different from their permanent residence, and provided that they do not hold another bank account. Additionally, Erasmus students for the study year 2015 – 2016 are now allowed to open a bank account for the payment of their compensation provided that they hold no other bank account.
4.  The early or partial or full termination of fixed term deposits is now permitted.
5. The possibility of repayment of 50% of the loans, as of 11/03/2016, is granted. Exception to this limitation is:
o The repayment in cash or by money transfer from abroad.
o The repayment through a new loan for restructuring purposes provided that the new loan is at least equal to the outstanding amount.
o The repayment of a mortgage loan with the purpose of a real estate sale.

It should be noted, however, that while the above-relaxed measures are in force now, the Greek bank account holders are still allowed to withdraw only 420 Euros per week from the ATMs.

Maria Sarantopoulou
Tax & Legal Advisor