EU takes Greece to court over state aid to ship­yard

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The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day took Greece to court for fail­ing to re­cover more than 250 mil­lion eu­ros in what it con­sid­ered to be il­le­gal state aid to Hel­lenic Ship­yards. The case dates back to 2008 and deals with one of Greece’s big­gest ship­build­ing yards that is now owned by Abu Dhabi MAR, the Emi­rates-based ship­build­ing group. “More than seven years af­ter its adop­tion, Greece still has not im­ple­mented the Com­mis­sion de­ci­sion of June 2008, or­der­ing the re­cov­ery of over 250 mil­lion eu­ros of un­law­ful state aid to Hel­lenic Ship­yards,” the Com­mis­sion said in a state­ment. It also asked the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice, the EU’s high­est court, to im­pose on Greece a one-off penalty of about 6 mil­lion eu­ros, plus a daily penalty of 34,974 eu­ros from the day of its judge­ment in 2012 un­til the date Greece com­plies. In 2008, Brus­sels found that some loans, guar­an­tees and cap­i­tal in­jec­tions granted to the ship­yard be­tween 1996 and 2002 when it was in dire straits failed to meet EU state aid rules. The ship­yard was pri­va­tized in 2002 and be­came part of Ger­man steel group ThyssenKrupp, which sold it to Abu Dhabi MAR in 2010 at the worst of the Greek debt cri­sis.

Hil­ton bid­ders. The process of sell­ing the build­ing of the Athens Hil­ton ho­tel by owner Al­pha Bank will con­tinue with at least two suit­ors, who yes­ter­day sub­mit­ted of­fers to Citi, the sale’s con­sul­tant. The next stage pro­vides for an as­sess­ment of the of­fers, which are not bind­ing.

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