EU Commission takes Greece to court over embezzlement of 135.8 million euros

EU Commission

EU Commission

The EU Commission announced on Wednesday that it was taking Greece to the Court of Justice of the European Union, over its failure to recover 135.8 million euros in illegally granted aid to the Larco mining company.

The Commission found that Greece had failed to comply with a November 2017 ruling by the Court of Justice which had ordered it to implement a 2014 recovery decision again by the European Commission.

According to the Commission, the Larco General Mining & Metallurgical Company SA had received that amount in the form of capital injections and state guarantees, which the Commission said in March 2014 had given the company an undue advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU state aid rules.

The Commission then ordered Greece to recover the amount, plus interest.

In January 2019, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Greece regarding the non-implementation of the 2017 Court's ruling.

More than five years after the adoption of the Commission decision, Greece has still not recovered the incompatible state aid from Larco, therefore the Commission has asked the court to fine Greece with a lump sum payment of approximately 3,704 euros per day for the period between 9 November 2017 (date of the first ruling by the Court of Justice) and the date Greece complies with the Court's ruling. The minimum lump sum payment should not be lower than 1.3 million euros.

It has also proposed a daily penalty payment of approximately 26,697 euros from the day of its judgment until the date Greece brings the infringement to an end.