Greece OKs Venezuelan Embassy assets seizure in legal case

ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s Justice Ministry has authorized a court order to seize assets from the Venezuelan Embassy in Athens following a court case linked to sexual misconduct and wrongful dismissal allegations made by former female staff members.

The court order required the ministry’s approval to be carried out. The ministry said the order should not compromise the embassy’s ability to act as a sovereign entity, Greek officials said Friday.

Several Greek staff members who had made sexual misconduct complaints against a former ambassador were fired. An Athens court in 2019 awarded one woman more than 30,000 euros (about $36,000) in damages. Pandemic restrictions have delayed legal proceedings in cases involving other plaintiffs.

Officials at the Venezuelan Embassy could not be reached for comment.

Greece’s center-right government in 2019 recognized Venezuela’s then-opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the country’s interim president, abandoning support for the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro remains in power following elections that the European Union has called undemocratic. Both the Venezuelan government and the opposition-backed rival administration have diplomatic representation in Athens.