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Posh Parties of Shipping Tycoons in Athens in Times of Crisis

17 June 2010 / 11:06:48  GRReporter
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The tycoons owning shipping companies with challenging parties, where cocktails and sushi and seafood are generously carried around demonstrate that the economic crisis and stringent measures apply only to employees but not to the rich. Because as they say in an interview with the Financial Times entitled “Shipping Tycoons Party as Greece Struggles” they can withdraw their companies from Athens just for a few minutes.
At a time when the Greek government has announced tough measures that cause millions of people to face every day continuous stress for the future, fear for their jobs and dismissals, the rich found another occasion to celebrate their well-being during the sea exhibition Poseidon 2010.

Before the publication of the photos and stories about the wedding aboard the historic ship “Averof” a reporter of Financial Times described the two parallel worlds: “It would be easy to forget that Greece is in severe economic crisis during the posh parties in the vicinity of Athens last week. But the celebrations during Poseidon 2010 - the largest meeting of ship tycoons, which is organized every two years, has nothing to do with what is happening in Greece, rather I felt that I was on Mars,” described Robert Wright in his correspondence from Athens.

”Shipping tycoons of Greece who own ships and are the first in the world celebrated the passing of the crisis in shipping, which a year ago could lead many of them to bankruptcy. The tycoons had a friendly pat on the shoulder in the early morning hours after swallowing large quantities of cocktails, sushi, seafood and veal.” The reporter of Financial Times says that most of the guests were at the parties in the Palace Astera Hotel, which is super-luxury resort on the beach in the middle of pine forest - well protected from protesters and teachers who have become symbols of the crisis in Greece.

”This is a parallel world,” explains Yannis Liveris, president of Ocean Freight headquartered in New York. The question is whether the crisis in Greece will bring these two worlds to clash and how the shipping magnates will react, if their income must be cut?! We should remind that Greek ship owners mainly transport products and oil and survived due to the endurance of the Chinese economy. Most of them carry out their banking and cargo exchanges in London, and their companies are located in New York or other parts of the world, notes Robert Wright. Some of them have a small office in Greece and therefore they will not be concerned even if the government decides to tax their profits.

Evangelos Marinakis told for a Greek television that his office is in the port of Piraeus, but his companies have offices in London, Russia, Singapore, Philippines and Romania. “To move our activities outside Greece is a matter of minutes for us,” said Mr. Marinakis. According to the owner of Paragon Shipping Mr. Michalis Boduroglu the success of the Greek capital that comes from maritime trade is largely due to its independence from the government. Despite the difficulties because of the red tape the Greek ship owners prefer the climate and life in Greece better than living in Cyprus, Malta, Monaco or Switzerland. “But if necessary, we will move elsewhere,” said George Ikonomu.

According to the tycoons the socialist government was irritated by the closing of the Ministry of Shipping, which was used for policy coordination in the field. Nevertheless, the Greek governments do not tend to levy taxes for owners of vessels and neither show that they would deprive them of their properties. Their position is protected by the Constitution for more than 40 years by voting incentives for payment of taxes, emphasized Mr. Ikonomu for the Financial Times. The article of the economic tabloid ends with the conclusion that it is obvious that the parallel worlds of secular parties on one hand and the impoverished Greeks on the other will continue to exist with no common ground.

Based on publications of Imerisiya Newspaper

Tags: NewsSocietyPartiesShipping tycoonsEconomic crisisPovertyTaxes
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