The fiscal crisis in Greece and the Eurozone as a whole, as well as the resultant financial crunch of the last few years, has drastically modified the socio-economic environment in Greece, increasing the pressure for radical reform. Public debate now highlights, inter alia, the need to suppress financial crime against the State and hold back corruption in the public sector.

Both said phenomena indubitably bring about harmful social effects. The former (financial crime against the State) severely curbs the State’s ability to deliver public services (such as education, health care, a justice system), thereby demoralizing particularly the most vulnerable in society. The latter (corruption in the public sector) corrodes every function of the State apparatus (legislative, executive, judicial), thus challenging the fulfillment of the government’s mission.

Under the weight of the deepening financial crisis, there is now a tendency to attribute these phenomena exclusively to the fiscal collapse of the country. Such limited analysis perchance offers provisional solace to those rummaging around for a plain rationalization of the utter failure of the social and economic model advanced in Greece over the last forty years; be that as it may, it diverts public attention from more intricate approaches, which might draw a parallel between inherent anomalies in the Greek social and institutional environment, on the one hand, and crucial international parameters of the present crisis, on the other.

These times present opportunities as well as threats. Increasing consensus to mete out harsh punishment to those responsible for financial crimes against public assets, including –but not limited to- those abusing their official position to derive illicit benefits, coupled with the widespread acknowledgement of public property as worthy of enhanced protection, both favor drawing up a comprehensive policy to prevent and suppress the offenses in question, thus ending the sense of impunity, which would in turn allow an institutional “restart” of the country. At the same time, constant harshening of the legislative framework, including the excessive use of criminal law as a tool of repression, is liable to obscure the urgent need for a comprehensive, long-term strategy of reform addressing the actual causes denying the country equal status in the international arena. Such digression had better be averted, lest it emasculate fundamental rule-of-law principles and, ultimately, jeopardize the attainment of the State’s goals.

Besides, numerous recent initiatives –undertaken “in the midst of crisis” with the perceived goal to bring about broader changes in the provisions governing the types of conduct in question- are indicative of ever-present shortcomings pervading criminal law: incomplete assessment of existing provisions, superficial review of the international institutional environment, ‘piecemeal’ legislation, and lack of a clear-cut, comprehensive strategy allowing for the accurate delimitation of the role of criminal law in restructuring the institutional framework of the country, a role which should by definition be ancillary.

The aim of this research project is to put together and propose a set of rules and principles, on a substantive and procedural level alike, which shall theoretically underpin and practically facilitate the effort to address the principal forms of financial crime and corruption in the Greek public sector, in light of pertinent international developments. The project’s proposal, which shall be based on, inter alia, an empirical and comparative study, will aspire to combine both efficiency and respect for the rule of law, thereby contributing in the long-term uprooting of these phenomena by means of repositioning criminal law in a new, desirable social, economic, and institutional model.


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