Greek privatization chief resigns amid corruption charges
Athens, Greece (4E) – Greece’s privatization agency chief and a senior finance official submitted their resignation Saturday, amid charges of dereliction of duty when they served as board members of the nation’s state-owned power company.
Takis Athanasopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, was charged by the Athens Prosecutor’s Office for corruption in the construction of a power station despite having the knowledge that connecting to the network of natural gas was not possible on the scheduled timetable. T
he Greek government is estimated to have lost 100mn euros because of the action.
Athanasopoulos, who was only a few months in the job, said he is resigning as the head of privatization agency to make sure his pending case will not impact the country’s privatization measures.
The Finance Ministry said in an official statement that Athanasopoulos has submitted his resignation to the Finance Minister. The ministry also announced the resignation of Secretary General of the Ministry Yorgos Mergos. Both resignations have been accepted, according to the statement.
The sudden resignations come just as when the agency was two months away from completing major deals involving state-owned firms natural gas company DEPA, gambling company OPAP SA and gas grid operator Desfa. The deals are seen as key to boost the country’s privatization drive and expected to raise the government about 2bn euros.