Athens-based Lamda Development on Wednesday angrily referred to “four-and-a-half years of mockery” by the outgoing Tsipras government, after being served with a ministerial decision incorporating culture ministry demands that the property developer said render the massive Helleniko privatization as “unsound”.
The ATHEX-listed company, which leads an international consortium that aims to implement the eight-billion-euro property development in southeast coastal Athens, has loudly warned over the recent period that the specific ministry’s demand to approve all future licenses, even landscaping, is not legal and will merely burden the investment with yet another layer of ubiquitous modern Greek “red tape”.
The “joint minister decision” was conveyed to Lamda in the afternoon, according to the latter, and only four days before a snap election on Sunday. While the outgoing hard left government has dutifully implemented a handful of iconic privatizations in the country that it inherited from the previous government, such as the sale of the Piraeus and Thessaloniki port authorities, 14 regional airports around Greece and even the rail operator (Trainose), it has nevertheless dragged its feet on others.
The Helleniko project is the most prominent of the still dormant major privatizations in thrice bailed-out Greece, followed closely by poorly executed international tenders or botched negotiations for energy-sector privatizations – such Hellenic Petroleum, the Public Power Corp.’s (PPC) lignite-fired units and the natural gas grid operator, among others.
An urgently posted Lamda press release read:
“With regard to the issuance of the Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD), concerning the Metropolitan Park, in the ex-airport of Hellinikon, which was sent to us this afternoon, the Company has the following comments:
The JMD persists in their position, of the Ministry of Culture, that has create obstacles in the commencement, as well as the development of the project, without taking into consideration the special law that concerns the investment (N4062/12), the SPA provisions that had ratified by the Parliament, nor the provisions of the Presidential Degree in accordance to which the design of the project has been approved.
Specifically, the Joint Ministerial Decision, requires:
a) Opinion by the Ministry of Culture in all studies concerning tall buildings, special buildings, special constructions, infrastructure projects, etc.
b) Approval by the Ministry of Culture in all studies for every individual project in an undetermined area around the listed monuments of the Park.
The above underline the systematic and organized efforts and create a serious bureaucratic obstacles, adversary affecting the project time frame and the budget.
In fact, before the commencement of any individual project, a prior approval is required by the Ministry of Culture. This uncertainty immediately puts at a risk the completion of the investment.
The Company once more faces a sudden overturn of the already agreed.
These positions are considered to be contrary to the spirit of the repeated consultations during in the Central Administration Council meetings for the last 10 days.
Following the above and after 4.5 years of mockery of the investors and the Greek society, the investment is now considered to be unsound.”