Public Prosecutor for Corruption Eleni Raikou on Monday pressed criminal charges with potentially hefty sentences against senior management and three board members of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) for their failure to obtain reasonably competitive rates in exchange for 28 public real estate assets.
The charges were based on the findings of an investigation into allegations made by Piraeus bar association lawyers, who said that the assets were sold on terms that were damaging to state interests. They include embezzlement from the public sector charges against the three HRADF board members but not breach of trust because the HRADF founding law clears board members of all responsibility for actions or omissions approved by the Court of Audit or expert council. There are also charges of breach of trust against the HRADF experts’ council for damages exceeding 580 million euros.
The case concerns 28 state-owned real estate properties transferred to HRADF for exploitation through sale and leaseback contracts for 20 years. The transactions signed in May 2014 concerned two sales contracts and 28 leaseback contracts (for 20 years) between the Greek state and two parties, Eurobank Properties and Ethniki Pangaia. The total sale price came to 261 million euros, while the state undertook the obligation to pay annual leases that in the first year came to 25.5 million euros.
According to the prosecutors’ final report on the deal, the experts’ council failed to propose modifications to the terms of the contract so that it was in the best interests of the state and the process finally adopted created potential damages to the Greek state of 580 million euros.
The HRADF board members are charged with failing to transfer promptly the sums paid for the transaction to a special account to a special state account and withholding the interest, which exceeded 100,000 euros.
The case has been assigned to Corruption Magistrate Constantinos Sargiotis. Charges have also been brought against HRADF board members for failing to pay interest owed for the Golden Hall shopping mall contract, amounting to 361,000 euros.