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.

DEPA court victory ends ELFE protection, enabling next steps

An Athens Court of First Instance has delivered a verdict favoring gas utility DEPA in its legal battle with troubled ELFE (Hellenic Fertilizers and Chemicals), lifting temporary protection measures offered to the industrial producer.

As a result, DEPA, owed 120 million euros by ELFE, can now proceed with its next steps in the dispute.

Making the most of temporary legal protection offered by a court in January, 2018, ELFE has continued issuing post-dated cheques to cover DEPA gas supply since 2016, despite DEPA demands for cash payments, based on a decision by company shareholders.

The DEPA board has just held an emergency meeting to discuss the next steps of its ELFE battle.

Financial crime authorities have been monitoring ELFE developments, including the emergence of various new firms related to the beleaguered producer. They include Ellagrolip and Lipasmata Neas Karvalis.

Acquired in 2009 by failed businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, the one-time majority shareholder of the liquidated Proton Bank, ELFE has morphed into various other ventures.

DEPA took legal action against Lavrentiadis and his associates last December, prompting criminal fraud and criminal organization charges.