Vodafone Sued for $1.8 Billion by Greek Businessman
Published on: 20th Apr 2014
By: Ian Mansfield
A Greek businessman is suing Vodafone for EUR1.3 billion (USD1.8 billion) in losses after he accused the company of pulling out of a retail franchise agreement in the country.
The damages are considerable higher than then EUR250 million that Athanasios Papistas filed for last December in the first of three writs that he has issued against the company.
Athanasios Papistas, owned, amongst other things, a franchise chain of Vodafone branded retail stores in Greece with 67 stores across the country. Vodafone owned a 450% stake in the MTS chain.
MTS (no relation to the Russian, Canadian or Israeli firms of the same name) alleges that Vodafone restricted its ability to operate after it cancelled a loan restructuring which was triggered by the country's economic crisis.
Vodafone also then terminated an 11 year franchise agreement and blocked the sale of the 60% stake to a 3rd-party rival.
Papistas alleges that Vodafone acted deliberately to drive down the value of the retailer so that it could by the 60% stake itself at a bargain price.
In the latest write, Papistas alleges that the difficulties at MTS then caused problems for the rest of his business empire with cashflow difficulties. Part of his other operators however also included a controversial joint-venture with the Vatopedi Monastery which is in the midst of a scandal over allegations of a corrupt property deal with the Greek government.
The court case is not expected to be heard until April 2016, due to the slow operations of the Greek legal system.
Vodafone denies the allegations.