Court overturns ruling requiring ELFE cash payments to DEPA

An Athens Court has overturned two preceding verdicts requiring the troubled ELFE (Hellenic Fertilizers and Chemicals) to make immediate payments to gas utility DEPA for gas supply. The latest ruling obliges the utility to continue supplying gas to the debt-laden producer in exchange for post-dated cheques of three months.

The court based its decision on an agreement reached in 2016 between former DEPA chief executive Theodoros Kitsakos and ELFE, permitting payments for gas supply through post-dated cheques.

As things have turned out, this older agreement continues to bind DEPA even though its former leader is facing criminal charges.

DEPA, which is owed close to 130 million euros by ELFE, has been involved in talks with major consultants for further legal action against the industrial producer.

The latest court verdict essentially offers protection to the failed businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, the one-time majority shareholder of the liquidated Proton Bank who acquired ELFE in 2009 before morphing the beleaguered enterprise into various other ventures to evade financial responsibilities. Financial crime authorities have been monitoring ELFE developments.

More verdicts are expected in this saga as both DEPA and ELFE have filed a number of cases against each other.