Meet IETA: Greece's "State Of The Art" Euro Printing Facility

Tyler Durden's picture

While the ECB is responsible for determining the euro-zone's supply of bank notes, it doesn't actually print them; instead it outsources the work to central banks of a few euro-zone countries (one of which is Greece). As WSJ reports, the Greek central bank's bank-note printing facility is called IETA. Built in 1941, the Attica plant today is outfitted with "state-of-the-art machinery," and has been responsible for printing batches of €10 notes, according to the ECB.

As The Wall Street Journal reports (2011),

In Greece, widely regarded as the country most likely to leave the euro zone because of its fiscal problems, the central bank has a bank-note printing facility called IETA. Built in 1941, the Attica plant today is outfitted with "state-of-the-art machinery," according to the Bank of Greece's website. But IETA's printing in recent years has been limited. It has been one of five or six countries responsible for printing batches of €10 notes, according to the ECB.


Athens has buzzed with rumors over the past year that the Bank of Greece was secretly printing drachmas, Greece's pre-euro currency. Widely circulated joke emails featured drachma bank notes bearing the image of then-Prime Minister George Papandreou. The rumors at times have been blamed for triggering waves of withdrawals from Greek retail banks.


A Bank of Greece spokesman said the bank isn't looking for ways to boost its printing capacity. "There has been no talk regarding this issue," he said.

*  *  *

Welcome to IETA...


The Banknote Printing Works of the Bank of Greece (IETA), based in Holargos (currently part of the Municipality of Halandri, Attica), was set up by a decision of the Bank's General Council dated 7 June 1938 and its original purpose was to print banknotes (paper bills) for the Bank, as well as government securities.
The IETA building complex was completed in 1941, and the first printing machinery was bought and installed there that same year.
Operations effectively started after the end of World War II, with the production of the 1947 1,000 drachma banknote (Series IV) and of cheques and other securities for the Bank and the Greek government.
Since 1971, when the Ministry of Finance entrusted the Bank of Greece with the production of legal tender and commemorative coins, the IETA facilities have also housed the National Mint. The National Mint was organised in line with Western European standards and was equipped with state-of-the-art machinery for the manufacturing of coin dies and the striking of legal tender coins, commemorative and collectors' coins, medals, etc.
The production of coins effectively started in 1972.
By a decision of the Bank's General Council dated 12 January 1972, the Banknote Printing Works was incorporated as a separate Department (IETA Department) into the organisational structure of the Bank of Greece; this status is maintained to this day.

The IETA today

is a pioneering printing house, delivering products which, apart from their outstanding aesthetic value, meet high security standards and offer maximum protection against counterfeiting is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery, and its production processes are in line with the industry's best practices at the European level is staffed by highly qualified and experienced professionals (engineers, technicians and artists) conducts strict quality controls all along the production chain, from raw materials to packaged products, conforming with relevant international standards.


The IETA mainly engages in the following activities:

1. Production of banknotes
The main task within this line of business is the production of euro banknotes issued following approval by the European Central Bank (ECB) and according to the designs, specifications and security features established by the ECB. The quantities and denominations allocated to the Bank of Greece (and to the IETA on its behalf) form part of the total volume of euro banknotes produced annually to cover the needs of the Eurosystem. According to the banknote production framework established by the ECB, each printing works may produce up to three different euro banknote denominations.

2. Production of coins
The main task within this line of business is the production of euro coins according to the specifications and security features established by the ECB. The designs of the common European side of euro coins have been determined by the competent EU institutions (the European Commission and the ECB) and applies to all coins of the same denomination, irrespective of the issuing country. The designs of the national side of Greek euro coins have been selected by the Greek Ministry of Finance in cooperation with the Bank of Greece. The Ministry of Finance is the issuer of coins in our country, as is the case with the respective Ministries in all other euro area countries. The IETA also produces commemorative coins and medals in the context of the annual numismatic programme of the Greek Ministry of Finance.

3. Printing of Greek government paper and other special security documents, such as certification documents etc.

4. the IETA prints the official stationery of the Bank of Greece, as well as all the Bank's reports and other publications.

More specifically, the IETA:

  • uses state-of-the-art machinery fitted with all the required safety and warning devices and ensures regular maintenance for safe operation
  • uses advanced fire protection systems
  • ensures the existence and maintenance of the necessary safety signs and signals in its premises
  • seeks to minimise the use of hazardous substances
  • supplies its staff with all the necessary personal safety equipment (masks, special uniforms, goggles, etc.) and provides training in proper use provides staff training in the safe operation of machinery and handling of materials has established cooperation arrangements with an external health and safety service provider, according to the legislation in force, and procedures for addressing any recommendations by the Safety Officer and/or Occupational Physician.
  • At the same time, preparations are under way in order to obtain ISO 18000 certification for the IETA's Health and Safety Management System.

*  *  *

One wonders how tempted the Greeks will be to take matters into their own ink-stained hands, should the ECB/Germany/Eurogroup pull the plug without acquiescing to their non-ultimatum "take it or leave it" offer...

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Sir SpeaksALot's picture

quiet humming of the new Drahma being made...

COSMOS's picture

Why should the Greeks leave the EU, let the Germans leave and print their marks? Ohhh without a large protected market you mean their marks will be crap. LOL.  The Germans cant compete with Koreans, Japanese, or Chinese on fair terms, they need protected market of Europe Union.

zeropain's picture

the eu is being propped up by germany.  if germany leaves eu is done.

knukles's picture

Assuming they kept the old plates....
Be hilarious to really piss off the EU if they mimeograph a buncha Euros

with a picture of original greek hero, Harry Bunghole on the face

Piranhanoia's picture

They might be printing Drachma.  Wasn't there a rumor the New Deutschemark was being printed in 2012?    

Publicus's picture

Print, baby, print! Print a trillion Euro! Greece you can do it!


Have Russia protect the facility with the S500 system.

Self-enslavement's picture
Self-enslavement (not verified) Publicus Feb 19, 2015 8:25 PM

Let me borrow the printing press. I promise not to use it. Really.

Yen Cross's picture

 Knuks, all the market makers, ETF and that recent Reuters consolidation in FX are testing Drachma templates.

 The buy side certainly has interest Knuks( institutional)


HardAssets's picture

Oh this is getting Good . . .

can't imagine why people waste time watching fake t.v. 'dramas' instead

Pool Shark's picture



The History of Germany, Greece and the EU in one simple analogy:

Greece is the heavy-drinking, partying, spendthrift brother-in-law to Germany.

Greece approaches Germany and wants to buy his car (BMW/Mercedes; other exports) but doesn't have the money or good enough credit to borrow the money to buy it/them.

So Germany says: "Okay, I'll let you buy my car/exports with a few bucks down, and you can make payments on it/them" (Accepts Greece into the EU and extends them credit as if they were a responsible, credit-worthy customer).

Everybody's happy,... for awhile. (First few years of EU: Germany gets to expand its economy and sell its products to new markets [the PIGS] who couldn't afford them before, but being a new member of the EU, Greece is able to borrow and spend Euro's now).


Fast-forward to today: Greece has skipped a bunch of payments on Germany's car, and Germany is getting pretty pissed-off trying to collect from Greece.

Unfortunately, in a drunken binge, Greece wrecked the car, lost his job, and now has no possible way of ever paying Germany back; you can't bleed a turnip.



Germany should have known better than extending credit to a deadbeat country like Greece; Greece should have acted more responsibly and not pissed all the borrowed money away in corruption and socialist programs.

Plenty of blame on both sides...


FireBrander's picture

Nailed it Cosmos...the EU thingy was scheme to enrich the "hard working North" at the expesive of those "lazy Southerners" loaning the Southerners money so they can buy the Norths' goods and services...WHAT A FUCKING SCAM...If I was a Communist in Charge of Greece, I take over that press and print up the debt Greece owes...fuck em.

WhackoWarner's picture

I was the estimator in a printing plant (s). I used to love to go and sit in the plant area where the printing presses were. My job was to bring in the work to keep the presses going,  My love was to sit and listen to the rythmn of the presses working,  I used to say it was the sound of money being printed,


EDIT:   So what does it take for Greece to print currency.  Few web presses running full tilt.  bindery that cuts the notes. Recycled paper?  A few four colour plates?  Don't take much boy,


The printing process to get notes to market are minimal.  Involves graphic setup; camera/digital copy to plate; ink colours; approval of press run and there you go....with skilled personell and equipment.  2 day turnover to "out-the-door".


But that is skilled people.  And ain't that just the rub.  Skilled people getting some job and future restored,   Euro frig off

WhackoWarner's picture

and I am not modern here, Currency notes these dayss have all kinds of anti-counterfeit.n These are proprietary items applied to the "note".  Greece needs some run up time.   Simple currency notes would be very liable to forgery.


Again the need to put back to work highly skilled artisans.  I know that everyone with a printer thinks they are highly skilled.  But the printing industry makes a mock of that.

one_hundred's picture
one_hundred (not verified) Sir SpeaksALot Feb 19, 2015 8:45 PM

my best friend's mother-in-law makes $75 an hour on the laptop . She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her check was $16977 just working on the laptop for a few hours. view it now. w­w­w.g­l­o­b­e-r­e­p­o­r­t.c­o­m

TheReplacement's picture

The implication is not that the Greeks can print their crap currency but EUROs and be debt free in no time.  Since they have an official printing facility for the EURO they would be real, not counterfeit - perfect.

COSMOS's picture

Let the Germans leave the EU or the Euro, why should the Greeks leave.  This talk pisses me off, let the Germans get the heck out, why does an equal partner like Greece have to leave.  The Greeks should go nowhere but stay in the EU and keep printing their fair share of Euros.

Yen Cross's picture

My Darling, Germany is the EU.

 Greece owes Germany approx. 65b euros, not counting derivatives.

 Germany enjoys the discount for export purposes.

Sir SpeaksALot's picture

EU rather is the 4th Reich, or a continuation of Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation

ZZR600's picture

Are there any Greeks reading ZH? If so, please explain why so many of your compatriots still have cash in the bank??? Surely by now anyone with an ounce of sense would have stashed Euros, Dollars or Sterling cash, bought gold or sent their money out of the country? For you Greeks who have some sense, try for a cheap way to send cash abroad, or even better, 

Monetas's picture
Monetas (not verified) Feb 19, 2015 6:23 PM

EU Debt Masters .... let Greece .... print their own IOU's ?

Yen Cross's picture

 I agree. Bring back the Drachma, and the Greek economy.


TheReplacement's picture

But first print Euros until they are out of debt.  Greece gets out of slavery and Germany gets paid back.  Win-Win unless you really prefer to keep slaves, half starved slaves at that.

ThroxxOfVron's picture

Time for a rhetorical question:

How hard would it be for a bone-fide mint to counterfeit perfect 100% indistinguishable from non-counterfeit notes simply by running off multiple batches of each note right from the plate?  

DO mints even use numbered plates any more or is it just a series of digital images with distinct batch codes being printed via an ink jet method or some such?

IMHO, the Greeks could run off quite a few *fake* Euros by cycling the plates repeatedly and no one would ever know until someone found two with the same exact series and serial number...


More to the point: I still haven't heard a decent argument as to why Greece could not utilze both the Euro and an alternate currency/IOU/Drachma concurrencly.

California issued IOUs in lieu of tax refunds a few years ago: effectively printing currency for all intents and purposes even though this is supposed to be illegal under the present FRN regime in the US...


edit: Ahh!  -I see that someone has brought up the Irish CB printing episode as well.

Lots of options here.  I don't think the Creditor Block is going to get what they want any more...

lakecity55's picture



      Greece Leaves Euro!
Wehrmacht Seizes Greek Mint

HardAssets's picture

Hell, it's all counterfeit made up outta Nuthin', so what's the difference ?!

Anusocracy's picture

Only special people can counterfeit.

gwar5's picture

Sweet!  Let them print EURs now and Drachmas next month. Same Krugman approved anti-debt formula that the FED uses.

TMLutas's picture

There is no established procedure to kick Greece out of the euro. They could print euros this month and next month no matter what other countries say. If a euro payment is offered and refused, the debt is cancelled, isn't it? 

ronron's picture

10ns are my favorite. print baby, print.

somecallmetimmah's picture

I love it when communists receive their just comupance. It's like watching the fall of the Soviet Union all over again!

Burn, you fuckers! BURN!!!

lakecity55's picture

Hahaha, look, we found a large extra vault of Euros!

Careful, Yanis, the ink is not dry yet. Wait a few minutes and go buy some ouzo with them!

Hahhaha! Screw those Krauts!

logicalman's picture

ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P   ctrl P  ..........................

That could really fuck with the Euro. They are indistinguishable from the "real" thing.

They are also backed by bugger all, just like the "real" thing.


NoWayJose's picture

I suspect German paratroopers will hit this as soon as the ink dries on the signatures of the Grexit papers.

Lmo Mutton's picture

Time for another drunkin binge and take the wifes BMW this time.