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Greece and Athina Onassis do not have future together

09 May 2013 / 21:05:26  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

The news that granddaughter Athina has sold the island of Skorpios in the Ionian Sea, which is emblematic of her family, has revived the interest of the world public in the dynasty of Onassis. The discussion about whether she had to sell the island to the daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, and why, has involved persons, who are close to the family, including one of the closest friends of her mother Christina.

GRReporter has sought the opinion of Alexis Mantheakis - former spokesman and adviser to the family of Athina Onassis’ father, Thierry Roussel, who has known her since she was a child and who is talking about her connection with Greece before and after the appearance of Alonso de Miranda Neto, known as Doda, in her life. Less than a year ago, he published an e-book in English entitled "Athina Onassis. In the eye of the storm," which is an informal biography of the only heiress of Aristotle Onassis’ former dynasty.

Mr. Mantheakis, did the sale of the island of Skorpios surprise you? How would you comment on the decision of Athina Onassis?

I am one of those people who had been claiming, for 4-5 years at least, that Athina would sell Skorpios at a certain point despite her denials through third parties and through her husband Doda. I had just seen that things were moving in this direction and unfortunately, the developments have confirmed my expectations.

How would you explain her decision to sell the island?

Nobody knows why, but when one makes sale-trade and receives money, it is logical to assume that the reason is money.

The annual maintenance of Skorpios cost her over 1 million euro and she had never visited it. Meanwhile, she had sold "Crystal" villa in the winter resort of St. Moritz for 20 million euro as well as other properties, including the one in Glyfada, where Onassis’ houses were located in the past. These properties along with Skorpios were emblematic of the Onassis family.

The moment she sold this property and her mother’s jewellery – those very personal items – things were clear to me. Athina did not receive a large amount for them – 7-8 million euro. This is a lot of money for us and it is nothing for the scale of Onassis.

Yes, this is the strange thing. Everyone would say that Athina Onassis does not need money.

This is something that nobody knows. We cannot know her needs and what she needs the money for. These things are relative. When you are very rich, your needs are also great. Maybe she wants to invest that money in something else. However, it is not clear at least so far why she has sold the island.

One important issue is the price. According to the press, she received $ 117 million for the island of Skorpios and the islet of Sparti, which is not so little. Its length is almost one kilometre, there is a port, a large building and infrastructure - roads and more.

In 1975, when Onassis died, Skorpios and the property in Glyfada were assessed by the Greek state at an amount, which corresponds to $ 133 million today. Assuming that the property was worth about $ 10 million, $ 123 million remain for Skorpios.

The Russian billionaire - a wonderful businessman, has made a very good and profitable purchase for his daughter. He should be congratulated for this. He has shown that Russians are the best players of the capitalist game.

It is interesting that Athina has not decided to develop any activities in connection with the island and make money from it.

I visited Skorpios at the invitation of Athina and her family for the last time a few years ago, around 2002 – 2003. I then presented to her several proposals to develop the island. One of them was to repair the houses and allow tourist visits, for example 2-3 days a week, when she is not on the island. The other suggestion was for a tourist train to operate with the opportunity to purchase a ticket to allow visitors to go to East beach, where there are showers and where they can have a drink and spend a day on the island of Onassis, thus raising money for the maintenance of the island. Another option was to repair the villas and turn them into meeting points for large companies and the leaders of the most powerful countries in economic terms like the G-7. The money for the maintenance of Skorpios could have been collected for 4-5 years in this way. There were other suggestions as well, namely to sell small bottles of olive oil from Skorpios and other souvenirs and to interrupt the visits for 2-3 weeks a year, when the family is on the island. Athina, however, did not even want to hear something like that. Her lawyers explained that she and her husband were not interested in such proposals for Skorpios’ development.

What kind of person is Athina Onassis?

I had been asked the same question when Athina was 11 years old. My answer was that she was a steel doll. She's a beautiful girl and she seems very sensitive, but a very tough nature hides behind that appearance. Her grandfather Aristotle Onassis was the same.

Tags: PersonsAthina OnassisSkorpiosAlexis MantheakisHorse racesThierry RousselChristina OnassisDoda
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