ECONOMY

Stavridis moved to TAIPED helm as public buildings go up for sale

Sell-off fund TAIPED insisted on Monday that it is continuing its work unhindered despite the change at its helm, and announced the start of the process for the sale and leaseback of 28 state buildings.

In the wake of charges of breach of duty leveled late last week against former managers at the Public Power Corporation (PPC) regarding a power plant in Evia, central Greece, the chairman of TAIPED, Takis Athanasopoulos, was among three officials who resigned from their posts for ethical reasons, having all been PPC board members when the Aliveri plant was commissioned in 2007, resulting in losses of over 100 million euros.

The other officials to resign were Finance Ministry general secretary Giorgos Mergos on Saturday and his Development Ministry counterpart Spyros Efstathopoulos.

The government announced on Monday that Athens Water Company (EYDAP) chief Stelios Stavridis is replacing Athanasopoulos, while TAIPED board member Antonis Vartholomeos is taking over at EYDAP, which is to be privatized.

TAIPED chief executive Yiannis Emiris rebuffed reports that the sell-off program is having problems, stating that the obstacles on the way are being overcome: “The privatizations program is on target with any slowdowns having been minimized. The replacement of the board chairman does not affect progress in any way, since processes for covering the position with Mr Stelios Stavridis have already begun.”

He added that the invitation for expression of interest for the 28 state buildings, issued yesterday, illustrates that “any comments referring to alleged problems with the smooth rollout of the plan have no rational base.”

The buildings in the package that is up for sale include Athens Police Headquarters.

Daniel Sahl, a senior Federation of German Industries (BDI) official, countered Emiris’s statement on Monday evening, saying that TAIPED’s work should be given to an international body. He was speaking at an event organized by the European Commission in Athens.

Meanwhile, reports on Monday also suggested that Dolphin Capital Investors Ltd (DCI) plans to bid for the Astir Palace resort in Athens, in a deal that would mark the first outright sale of a property in the country since the start of the sell-off program in 2011.