Head of Greek privatisation fund resigns: source

Protesters shout slogans as they take part in a rally against austerity measures in central Athens July 19, 2012. The banner reads “We do not owe, we do not sell, we do not pay”. — Photo by Reuters

ATHENS: The chief executive of Greece's privatisation fund has resigned a month the president of the organisation stepped down, sources from the fund told AFP on Friday.

Costas Mitropoulos quit his post on Thursday at the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, the entity charged with selling some of the state's choice assets, the source said.

His resignation, which deals a further blow to government policy in this area, was accepted late in the day, the source added.

The government has yet to comment but his departure, but it represents another blow to the country's delayed push to raise funds via privatisations.

The president of the organisation, law professor Ioannis Koukiadis, resigned only last month.

Both had taken office last year when the agency was set up to help manage privatisations demanded by Greece's creditors as the heavily indebted country entered its fifth year of recession.

The European Union and International Monetary Fund, which have provided hundreds of billions of euros in loans to keep the country's economy going for two years, expect Greece to complete a multi-billion euro privatisation program by 2015.

After his recent election, centre-right Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pledged to speed up the privatisation process, while Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said he would implement policies to attract investors.

But in early July, Mitropoulos warned the Greek government that too much time had “been wasted” in getting the program going.

According to the Greek fund, 28 privatisation projects are underway and the revised goal of raising 19 billion euros by 2015 is feasible as long as demand holds up.

The state-run Athens News Agency recently announced however that only two privatisation projects could be completed by the end of the year: that of the national lottery and the former Olympic international press centre (IBC).

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