Greece’s anti-corruption prosecutor Eleni Raikou has launched a preliminary investigation into allegations that the  privatization deal for the former Athens airport at Hellenikon did not comply with tender regulations.

More specifically, the  HRADF (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) which undertook the sale tender has been blasted by critics over a breach of trust for setting unduly restrictive criteria for the participation of investors.

The consortium, led by Lamda Development (a real estate developer controlled by Spiro Latsis, Greece’s richest man, and backed by China's Fosun and an Abu Dhabi-based real estate company), which was the sole bidder, won a 99-year lease of the  40,000 square metre area.

The prosecutor will also be examining the price tag of the deal which, according to a recent report by the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE), was way too low at €900 mln. (The deal’s “present value”, that is if all the money was paid up-front, is €577 or €426 million). TEE’s own estimates value the site at €2.5 bln and the prosecutor has appointed two experts to evaluate the coastal stretch of the former airport in southern Athens..

Meanwhile, Attica Governor Rena Dourou has filed an appeal before the Court of Audit, Greece’s supreme administrative court, aiming to block the Hellinikon deal which the TEE  “adjudged as demeaning”.

Vowing to ‘defend public property and, in particular, the 40,000 square metres at the site of Hellenikon’, Dourou, a member of main opposition left-wing Syriza Party, submitted to a plenary session of the Court of Audit all the relevant details about the deal.

In September an initial decision by the Court of Audit had blocked the deal on the grounds that the sale tender had set unduly restrictive criteria for the participation of investors.

But the decision had been appealed by the HRADF and the consortium that won the tender. The Court of Audit accepted the appeal and opened the way for the deal to go ahead.

The former airport was a major privatisation aim for the government in its bid to meet targets set by the country’s international lenders.