Pursuant to Law 4990/2022, new rules were introduced for the protection of “whistleblowers” i.e. persons that, during the exercise of their work-related tasks, identify breaches (potential or actual) in areas that fall within the scope of the Union Law i.e. financial services, prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, environmental protection, consumer protection, protection of personal data etc., and proceed to reporting them.
Under the Law, it is stipulated that the National Transparency Authority (NTA) will act as an external reporting channel, i.e. as the competent Authority for receiving, handling, and monitoring reports on breaches falling under the Law.
As it regards the establishment of an internal reporting channel, it is noted that private companies with 50 and up to 249 employees should have appointed an officer responsible for receiving and monitoring reports (“responsible officer”) at the latest by 17.12.2023 and notified the Labor Inspectorate or the competent supervisory authority within a two-month period from such appointment. The deadline for the appointment of a responsible officer in relation to companies with more than 249 employees was set at the latest by 11.05.2023.
By virtue of the said Law, the new Ministerial Decision (MD) no. 47312 (OJ B’ 6944/11.12.2023) was issued with the purpose of specifying the procedure for submitting, receiving, handling and, monitoring internal reports within both public and private bodies.
With respect to private companies, the abovementioned procedures are outlined as follows:
1. Report submission
The report can be submitted either by name or on a no name basis, in writing (by post to the Company’s registered seat or via e-mail to the responsible officer), orally (by telephone, via a voice messaging system, provided that the whistleblower has provided his consent to the recording of the conversation or by arranging a meeting with the responsible officer) as well as via an electronic platform, which operates on the website of the Company.
2. Receipt of report
The confirmation of the report’s receipt to the whistleblower shall take place within seven (7) working days from the receipt and irrespective of the way of submission. The notification of the whistleblower concerning the report’s receipt can be made by any convenient means, provided that it complies with the confidentiality and privacy requirements of the said Law.
The report should be registered in a special file kept by the responsible officer, either in printed or digital form, in accordance with the whistleblowing policy of the company.
3. Handling of report
Upon receiving the report, the responsible officer shall forward it in a pseudonymized form a) to the competent bodies of his company and b) to the competent Authorities/bodies as the case may be, such as the Financial Crimes Prosecutor, the NTA, the Hellenic Competition Commission, the Bank of Greece, the Personal Data Protection Authority, the Consumer Ombudsman, the Anti-Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism Authority etc.
The report is stored for a reasonable and necessary period so that it can be recovered and in any case until the completion of each investigation or the legal proceedings initiated as a result of the respective report.
In case the report is clearly inconsistent, vague, or incomprehensible, or its content does not fall within the scope of the Law, the responsible officer files the report following a decision which is notified to the whistleblower.
4. Monitoring of report
The responsible officer communicates with the whistleblower and, if necessary, requests further information and/or evidence to be provided by him. He further monitors the report’s case by communicating with the competent body that handles the report or with the competent authorities to which the report has been forwarded.
The competent body of the Company or the competent Authority that handles the report promptly informs the responsible officer for any actions taken, in order for the latter to inform the whistleblower within a reasonable period, which shall not exceed three (3) months from the confirmation of the report’s receipt or in case such confirmation has not been sent to the whistleblower, within a period that does not exceed three (3) months after seven (7) working days have passed from the report’s submission.
The editorial team