Stelios Stavridis was sacked as chairman of Greece's privatisation agency (YouTube)
Greece's finance ministry has fired the chairman of its privatisation agency, Stelios Stavridis, after a newspaper report revealed that he used a plane of a businessman who bought state assets.
Stavridis was asked to resign after a newspaper, Proto Thema, reported that he travelled on a private plane of a person who had bought gambling firm Opap from the state.
The chairman was asked to resign in a brief statement by the Greek finance ministry. An official from the department told Reuters that Stavridis' resignation was effective immediately.
Stavridis said in the newspaper that he took the private jet for travelling to his holiday home.
"Melissanidis, who was travelling to France, offered to take me with him to accommodate me," the newspaper quoted him as saying.
Yannis Emiris, the chief executive of Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), said the privatisation programme will not be hindered by Stavridis' resignation.
"There will be absolutely no delays to the programme," he said.
Stavridis, who only served for four months, is the second chief of the HRADF to leave in less than six months. During the tenure, he was criticised for the slow pace of privatisation in Greece.
His removal raises concern about the country's poor privatisation programme, which will miss its revenue target by €1bn ($1.3bn, £852m) in 2013.
Greece has been under the pressure from the EU and International Monetary Fund to boost up its privatisation programme. Both the lenders have said in July that they will keep track of HRADF's operations.
According to the figures released from the finance ministry in August, Greece comfortably beat its fiscal budget target in the year to July and even reported a primary surplus of €2.6bn, compared to a deficit of €3.14bn in the corresponding period a year before.
The finance ministry confirmed that the Opap deal would not get affected due to Stavridis' resignation, adding that he was axed due to "ethical reasons".
Greece finalised the selling of a controlling stake in the state gambling firm Opap the week before Stavridis's dismissal.
A group of Greek and eastern European investors paid around €650m for holding 33% of the stake in the company.
Greek shipowner and a major shareholder of a Greek-Czech consortium Dimitris Melissanidis, whose private jet Stavridis said to have flown in, is one of the investors.
The deal requires ratifying by the parliament and is subject to approval from Greece's competition commission.
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