The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

The court orders the payment of three billion euro

30 June 2013 / 18:06:01  GRReporter
4541 reads

Yiannis Raptopoulos, a businessman and owner of Express Service, has been acquitted after a long court saga following the allegations of the Ministry of Finance for obligations to the state. An investigation carried out by the electronic edition shows what lay behind the case. This is the first such court decision. The opponents of the businessman during the case were not only public authorities and large insurance companies but also media groups, which acted as a public prosecutor on the orders of their bosses.

The court in Athens has decided that the National Insurance Company, which is a state company in practice, had been involved in 732,797 cases of illegal competition in the period from 18 May 2009 to 31 August 2010, and ordered the payment of compensation of three billion euro in favour of Express Service.

The questions that arise are as follows:
- Why had the different managerial staffs of the insurance company continued this illegal practice for so many years, despite the continuing protests on the part of Express Service?
- What is the responsibility of these managerial staffs regarding the catastrophic decline in the shares of the company?
- Who will pay this huge amount today and, in particular, how?

- Who were the board members who had ignored the complaints of the businessman?
- What kind of "umbrella" had been protecting them while making these violations?
- Should they have acted in this way if they were owners instead of salaried workers?

After a long legal struggle, Express Service has obtained justice after its owner has been initially subjected to all kinds of persecution by the state, through the fault of the insurance company.

A chronicle of persecution or a Greek businessman’s "success story"

Several decades ago, a young resident of Thessaloniki decided to establish an emergency road service company, distinguished for its quality services. Without bank loans, government support or assistance from people with power, he managed, in a few years, to turn the company into the largest firm in this field in Europe and to receive many international awards for quality. When the company became the first on the market, the state, by order of its competitors, mainly state-owned companies which wanted to obtain a bigger piece of the pie, began to pose plenty of problems to the company, thus causing huge financial damage. Indicative of this is the case when the state had absolutely illegally obliged Express Service to become an insurance company or to make a VAT registration which was also illegal because the law provides for the opposite.

It took the Supreme Administrative Court a decade to prove only that the company had been illegally required to become an insurance company. Many years passed until the European Union decided that the company had been illegally required to register for VAT too. Moreover, the company has not yet been repaid tens of millions of euro spent because of the illegal decisions contrary to the laws of the European Union.

However, Express Service continued to evolve. More than 100 emergency road service stations, thousands of cars and more than 1,500 employees available day and night were serving the drivers which irritated its old rivals as well as the new ones, which were mainly insurance companies. The majority of them had preferred to use illegal means, blows below the belt and unfair competition to drive the company out.

They argued that they were offering emergency road service since they did not even have a single emergency road service station, a vehicle or mechanic. With zero cost of operation, they were illegally trying to compete with Express Service which, because of its investments, had high operating costs. One may wonder how they were able to serve the customers that they had stolen from Express Service. This was easy – they called someone from the country who had a truck for transportation of meat or vegetable and told him to transport the broken car of the customer.
Meanwhile, the obligations of Express Service increased. The owner decided to turn to the justice system. For ten years already, the courts had been issuing decisions that the tactics of insurance companies were illegal, that they cheated their customers and that they did not have service staff and vehicles. The companies were banned from advertising and offering such services. Hundreds of court decisions stipulated for 2,000-euro fines in case of violations. The main driver of this illegal competition was the state National Insurance Company. Violating the law, it had obtained hundreds of thousands of customers at the expense of Express Service, thus increasing the obligations of the company. The owner was prosecuted for the company’s debts. Despite the stalemate, Raptopoulos believed in justice and retained the structure of the company and all of its 1,505 employees. He turned to the court, requesting the initiation of legal proceedings against the insurance company due to illegal competition at the expense of Express Service.
The "parrots"

Tags: Express ServiceYiannis RaptopoulosCourt decisionUnfair competitionNational Insurance Company
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus