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ATHENS, June 29 (Reuters) - Greece dropped charges of breach of duty against three former privatisation officials on Thursday, court officials said, paving the way for the disbursement of new bailout loans.
The three officials from Spain, Italy and Slovakia had faced charges stemming from the sale of state properties in 2015. The case had stalled in a system backlog, but it had been an obstacle to Greece’s chances of getting fresh funds from the EU under a multi-billion euro bailout brokered in 2015.
Payments for the next tranche are due to start in early July.
Spain had said it would block disbursement of aid, amounting to 8.5 billion euros, unless Athens granted immunity to the three, who were consultants for the country’s privatisation agency.
The experts had been charged by a prosecutor with breach of duty in relation to a sale and lease-back deal involving 28 state-owned buildings.
Thursday’s decision, by the deputy prosecutor of the country’s Supreme Court, also dropped charges against three board members of the privatisation agency and a further three consultants.
The deputy prosecutor based his decision on the “lack of justification” for pursuing the case, and on flawed legal reasoning, the court officials said. (Reporting by Constantinos Georgizas; writing by Michele Kambas; editing by Andrew Roche)