Legal Council to examine purchase of Skorpios by Russian oligarch’s daughter

A month after the Ionian island of Skorpios was sold by the granddaughter of the late Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, Athina Onassis, to the daughter of Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Finance Ministry on Monday asked the Legal Council of the State to look into the legality of the transaction.

Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras said he would ask for a clarification about whether the sale raises issues related to the protection of Greece’s public interest. He was responding to a question lodged in Parliament by conservative New Democracy deputy Yiannis Michelakis, who claimed that Onassis had left specific instructions in his will about what should happen to the island if his family sold it.

According to those who criticize the sale of the island last month by Athina Onassis, the late tycoon’s will stipulated that Skorpios should be donated to the Greek state if his heirs are unable to cover the estate’s maintenance costs. In such an eventuality, according to provision nine of Onassis’ will, the island should either be granted to Greece’s head of state for use as a holiday resort or to the former state carrier Olympic Airways (now Olympic Air) for use by the employees’ children as a summer camp.

It is unclear how Rybolovlev’s daughter, Ekaterina, will react if the sale is found to be illegal but sources suggested on Monday that a compromise could be found by cancelling the sale and instead giving the island to the 24-year-old Russian on a long-term lease.