Russia offers Greece cash in return for assets

07 Apr 2015


Russia is reported to have proposed cash loans and discounts on supplies of natural gas in exchange for "Greek assets", inviting the wrath of EU lenders, reports appearing in Moscow show.

Russian media reports said the Greek gas company DEPA could be among the assets that Russian lenders are looking at. Stakes in train operator TrainOSE and sea ports in Athens and Thessaloniki are also potential targets, reports said.

Alexis Tsipras, the Leftist prime minister of debt-laden Greece, is due to arrive in Moscow today and will meet President Vladimir Putin, West's arch enemy, as he looks East for alternatives to tied aid from the West.

And, amid continuing negotiations over debt relief from the European Union bailout, Greece demanded that Germany pay Greece 279 billion euros ($305 billion) in damages for the Nazi occupation of the country during the Second World War.

In the first such estimates, released on Monday, Greece said the German government owed the country 279 billion euros as WWII reparations.

In overtures to Moscow ahead of his visit, Tsipras also condemned economic sanctions on Moscow as ''a road to nowhere'', undermining the EU's united front against Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.

European Parliament president Martin Schulz said it would be "unacceptable'' if Tsipras ''jeopardised Europe's common policy on Russia'' in return for Kremlin aid.

But German newspaper Kommersant quoted Russian government sources as saying that lines of credit were on the table.

''We're ready to consider the question of providing Greece discounts on gas: the price for it is tied to the cost of oil which has significantly fallen in recent months,'' the source said.

''We are also ready to discuss the possibility of granting Greece new loans. But here we, in turn, are interested in reciprocal moves - in particular, in Russia receiving particular assets in Greece.''

Moscow is Greece's largest trading partner on account of its huge reliance on Russian natural gas.

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