Greek state wins case against Athens International Airport; charges are ‘outrageous’, AIA responds

The Athens Administrative Court of Appeals on Monday ruled in favour of the Greek state in its legal dispute with the “Athens International Airport (AIA)” company and the German company “Hochtief” which for 20 years was managing the construction and operation of the Eleftherios Venizelos Athens International Airport. The court ruled that AIA did not pay VAT to the Greek state for airport services.

At present, the total amount of the German company’s debt to the Greek state is hard to be calculated, considering that the debts were suspended as a result of the legal action underway and the fact the Tax Bureau hasn’t calculated yet the amounts owed until 2013. According to information, more court rulings are still pending for unpaid VAT concerning other years.

The Administrative Court of Appeals rejected the allegations made by the German company’s legal representatives, that the Greek state violated “good faith” or the European law, and ruled that, based on the Greek Constitution, the international arbitration to which the German management sought recourse cannot write off the administrative fines imposed on the company.

In its response to press reports on the decision, the AIA said it had “kept to and continues to keep all of its legal obligations and therefore does not owe the Greek state outstanding debts, whether from VAT or other direct or indirect taxes, social security contributions and city taxes.”

It also called references to outstanding obligations totalling 500-600 million euros “outrageously erroneous, products of imagination and unsubstantiated.”

Among other things, in its announcement, it noted that it AIA is a fully Greek company with a 55-percent participation by the Greek state, levies VAT on all such sales transactions and always turns it over to the state on time. From 2001 to 2013, it said, it had turned over to the state VAT totalling 84 million euros.