Breathing space for tobacco firm

Breathing space for tobacco firm

The Komotini administrative court lent tobacco company SEKAP some breathing space on Friday, putting off its definitive decision regarding the firm’s 38.2-million-euro fine until January 17.

SEKAP, owned by Russian-Greek investor Ivan Savvidis, has appealed against the fine, which concerns customs violations dating from 2008. The Thrace-based company has warned that if the fine is not overturned, it will be forced to go bankrupt. It also said that, if necessary, it will take the case to the Council of State.

The Komotini court issued the injunction that SEKAP requested until a final verdict is reached, which gives the tobacco firm some time to seek out a solution regarding its future.

In an extraordinary board meeting on Thursday SEKAP reached the decision to stop paying its dues if the fine is not canceled. It also appointed Stavros-Constantinos Papaspyrou as its new general director.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Thursday, “We will take any initiatives we can so that the 170 jobs are not lost,” while New Democracy spokeswoman Maria Spyraki proposed the company reaches a settlement with authorities to pay off the fine in installments.