Onassis heir, charity to clash

The board of the Onassis Foundation yesterday stood its ground against Athina Roussel Onassis – the sole descendant of its founder Aristotle Onassis – who is suing the foundation over recently announced changes to its statute making it harder for the tycoon’s granddaughter to assume its control. The statute, which had originally stated that the foundation’s president must be at least 21 years old and a descendant of the legendary tycoon, was amended in December 2003 to state that the foundation’s president need not be an heir of Onassis but must gain a majority vote from the board. But this change was only announced this July – by the foundation’s new board members, all descendants of the previous ones. The 20-year-old heir of the charismatic shipping magnate has accused the board of «staging a coup» against her. The foundation yesterday reacted by accusing Roussel of «seeking to violate the expressed desire of Aristotle Onassis, as recorded in his will.» It added that it would «defend (its) founder’s memory and will in court.»