ATHENS May 12 Greece will challenge a decision
by the country's forestry authority that could slow a
long-delayed 7.9 billion euros ($8.63 billion) investment
project on Athens' riviera, an official with the country's
privatisation agency said on Friday.
Greece's forestry department announced on Thursday that 9
acres of the property are classified as a forest.
A consortium of Abu Dhabi and Chinese investors,
led by Greece's Lamda, signed a deal in 2014 to
develop a coastal area at the former Athens airport of
Hellenikon, one of Europe's biggest real estate development
But the investment in the 1,532 acre seaside site, a key
part of Greece's privatisation drive under its latest bailout,
has been fraught with delays as authorities drag their feet in
demarcating the area and providing the necessary licensing.
"We will follow all available legal procedures to protect
the investment. There will be an appeal," the privatisation
agency official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Asked about delays in licensing Hellenikon, Finance Minister
Euclid Tsakalotos told lawmakers on Thursday that the government
would move ahead with the project but could not overrule
independent authorities' procedures.
Under a deal with its EU/IMF lenders for the conclusion of a
crucial bailout review last week, seen by Reuters, Athens needs
to speed up Hellenikon investment and address any forestry and
The government must also appoint a special committee of
experts that will cooperate with the investors.
($1 = 0.9157 euros)
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Susan Thomas)