Pri­va­ti­za­tion of ODIE on hold once again

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

The pri­va­ti­za­tion of the Greek Horse Rac­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ODIE) is once again on hold due to early elec­tions.

The loss-mak­ing ODIE is 100 per­cent state-owned and over 200 mil­lion eu­ros in ar­rears to the gov­ern­ment, which the in­debted or­ga­ni­za­tion will not be able to re­pay. As a re­sult, the gov­ern­ment agreed with the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to liq­ui­date the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The Greek side, how­ever, keeps post­pon­ing the liq­ui­da­tion as it seeks first to com­plete the pri­va­ti­za­tion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ex- clu­sive mu­tual bet­ting rights at race­tracks. It is be­lieved this is the only way for Greek horse rac­ing to sur­vive.

The Greek Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Football Prog­nos­tics SA (OPAP), Europe’s sec­ond-big­gest gam­bling firm based on mar­ket value, has al­ready de­posited 8 mil­lion eu­ros with the Hel­lenic Re­pub­lic As­set De­vel­op­ment Fund (TAIPED) in or­der to take up this right but is fac­ing op­po­si­tion from the pres­i­dent of the Par­lia­ment, Zoe Con­stan­topoulou. Sources at the TAIPED say Con­stan­topoulou re­fused to raise the rat­i­fi­ca­tion for a ple­nary vote in the June 30 gov­ern­ment bill.

Two suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments have so far failed to com­plete the pri­va­ti­za­tion, which is ul­ti­mately ex­pected to gen­er­ate 40.5 mil­lion eu­ros for the state cof­fers. Elec­tronic gam­bling gi­ant In­tralot, which is OPAP’s par­ent com­pany, also owns ODIE’s real es­tate and is su­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion for 25 mil­lion eu­ros in dam­ages.

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