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OPAP Deal Finally Concluded

opap_building_390_2404After much wrangling and doubt whether the deal would go through, Greece has signed a 652-million euro ($867.95 million) agreement to sell off 33 percent of  the state-controlled gambling monopoly firm OPAP to the Greek-Czech investment consortium Emma Delta.
It was signed in the presence of Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras by businessman Dimitris Melissanidis on behalf of the buyers and Stelios Stavridis, the head of Greece’s privatization fund (TAIPED) Stelios Stavridis. It had been held up for many weeks after the prospective buyer objected to some of the terms.
The signing came more than three months after the sell-off was approved by the government following in-depth discussions about the terms of the deal and as Greece was desperate to show some results from a lagging privatization program while being squeezed by international lenders.
Last week the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) filed an injunction to the State Audit Council against the government’s decision to approve the privatization. In the 100-page suit, the RGA argued that the State Audit Council had approved the OPAP sale without waiting for a European Commission ruling on whether the ceding of the exclusive right for online betting constitutes state aid.

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