Investing in Greece: Only for the Filthy Rich

If a small company wants to sell shares to investors it must demonstrate to the SEC that the investors are “accredited,” basically wealthy, or otherwise it must go through a long and burdensome process to make an offering to the public. According to one account, Greece has considerably more peculiar requirements:

Antonopoulos and his partners spent hours collecting papers from tax offices, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the municipal service where the company is based, the health inspector’s office, the fire department and banks. At the health department, they were told that all the shareholders of the company would have to provide chest X-rays, and, in the most surreal demand of all, stool samples.

Greek banks were not much better:

Once they climbed the crazy mountain of Greek bureaucracy and reached the summit, they faced the quagmire of the bank, where the issue of how to confirm the credit card details of customers ended in the bank demanding that the entire website be in Greek only, including the names of the products.

“They completely ignored us, however much we explained that our products are aimed at foreign markets and everything has to be written in English as well,” said Antonopoulos.

Take this with a grain of salt but the World Bank does rank Greece 135th in the world (186 countries ranked) in ease of starting a business.


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