Little Work, But Greek Privatization Advisors Paid Millions

As Greece’s privatization board remained mostly dormant from July of 2011 to March of 2012, the government paid its workers and advisors nearly $8.74 million in salaries and expenses, according to data presented to the Parliament.

The monies were paid to advisors for the Hellenic Republic Assets Development (TAIPED) that had almost no work to do because a previous government dragged its feet on privatizing state entities and selling or leasing state properties, and then two rounds of elections earlier this year put the board in limbo.

TAIPED has a new leader, Takis Athasopoulos, and his appointment was ratified as Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras gave Parliament the figures on salaries and expenses that had been requested by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, the main opposition party that is fighting government plans to impose more austerity and another $14.16 billion in cuts aimed primarily at workers, pensioners and the poor.

The TAIPED advisors had originally been hired by the Special Secretariat for Privatizations before being transferred. TAIPED has produced almost no work, the newspaper Kathimerini reported. The report said that the fund employed 20 people whose salaries added up to $361,222 and fund officials spent $100,000 on various trips. Payments to financial, legal and technical consultants, who were hired on a decision from the Interministerial Committee for Restructuring and Privatizations, came to $6.9 million.