Greece planning to sell diplomatic real estate abroad

By Sharon Smyth

Greece plans to sell diplomatic buildings, offices and houses in cities from London to Belgrade as the government pursues an asset disposal plan key to getting further international aid, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The state?s list of assets for sale, previously restricted to domestic real estate, will now include the Greek consul?s residence in the U.K.?s second-most expensive borough as well as office buildings in Brussels and Belgrade, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. In addition, a former royal palace near Athens may be sold or leased, they said.

Greece has pledged to raise 50 billion euros ($64 billion) from state assets, around half of which is real estate, by 2020 to meet conditions tied to 240 billion euros in foreign aid received over the past two years. The Hellenic Privatization Fund last week said it plans to accelerate asset sales as international inspectors in Athens assess the country?s fitness to receive the latest aid payment.

The 947-square-meter (10,000-square-foot) London property is a 115-year-old Victorian townhouse in the Holland Park area of Kensington a 2,376 square-meter Baroque building in the Serbian capital, a 1,215 square-meter listed property in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and an 8,000 square-meter strip of land in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, according to the people.

Greece has raised about 1.8 billion euros from its asset sales program, sparking criticism among European officials that the government isn?t moving quickly enough to reduce debt. Sales have been held back by months of negotiations over the country?s largest-ever debt restructuring earlier this year and two general elections that threatened Greece?s membership in the euro currency.

Lasr week, the fund chose six groups, including London