Greek privatisation: Business class

Stelios Stavridis, on a flight to nowhere

RARELY is a Greek official sacked for “ethical reasons.” An exception is Stelios Stavridis, the boss of Taiped, the privatisation agency, who was dismissed on August 18th. His mistake was to have flown on a private jet belonging to a Greek oil tycoon, Dimitris Melissanidis, one of the buyers of a 33% stake in Opap, the state gambling company, hours after the €652m ($ 872m) deal was signed. A picture (above) of Mr Stavridis sitting next to a smiling stewardess appeared in ProtoThema, an Athens tabloid.Mr Stavridis denies wrongdoing: he merely accepted Mr Melissanidis’s offer of a lift home to the island of Kefalonia to resume his summer holiday, rather than take a commercial flight the next day. Conveniently, the plane was due to make a refuelling stop on Kefalonia before taking Mr Melissanidis and his friends to France. The explanation failed to save the third Taiped boss to go in 13 months: yet another sign of the woes besetting Greece’s privatisation programme. The policy is contentious and the centre-right government of Antonis Samaras has only a five-seat majority in…

The Economist: Europe

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