A northern Greece administrative court on Friday provided temporary relief for troubled cigarette maker SEKAP, blocking state services’ efforts to collect a fine of up to 38.2 million euros imposed on the company for customs violations dating back to 2009.
The decision by the court in the city of Komotini essentially allows the cigarette manufacturer to distribute its products in the domestic market, at least until Jan. 17, 2018. Another hearing will come at the beginning of the year.
The company, a previously state-owned tobacco cooperative that was subsequently acquired by Greek-Russian investor Ivan Savvidis in 2013, is expected to challenge the massive fine at the Council of State (CoS), Greece’s highest administrative court.
The violations occurred when SEKAP was still controlled by the one-time Agriculture Bank of Greece (ATE), itself a “casualty” of the crisis years and state bank sector restructuring.