MIG sues TV channel

Marfin Investment Group, Greece’s biggest buyout fund, is suing television channel Star for 150 million euros for defamation in its reporting of a business transaction involving Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s biggest telephone company. Star repeatedly described the planned 2.5-billion-euro sale of Marfin’s stake in OTE telecom, Greece’s biggest telephone company, to Deutsche Telekom as a «scandal,» Marfin’s co-vice chairman, Andreas Vgenopoulos, said yesterday in a news conference in Athens. Star spokeswoman Lola Daifa didn’t return phone calls for comment. Star is controlled by the Vardinoyiannis oil and shipping family, which also owns a majority stake in Motor Oil Hellas, Greece’s second-biggest refiner. In January, Vgenopoulos challenged Yiannis Vardinoyiannis, a member of the family, for the leadership of Panathinaikos, one of Greece’s two top soccer clubs The lawsuit against Star is «big, but it’s in proportion to the size of the deal, the size of our company and the size of Star’s owners,» Vgenopoulos said. Marfin’s biggest shareholder is the government of Dubai. Marfin has also pressed defamation charges over 1 million euros against Alexis Tsipras, chairman of Synaspismos Left Coalition, Greece’s fourth-largest party. Tsipras has publicly called the OTE transaction a «fraud,» Vgenopoulos said. If Marfin wins the case, it promised to donate the damages to Tsipras’s party.

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