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EU Court Adviser Backs Olympic Airways Fine

(CN) - A top adviser to Europe's highest court supported the notion of fining Greece for failing to recover state aid illegally granted to Olympic Airways, but suggested cutting the $64,000 daily fine to about $19,000.

Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi recommended that Greece pay a lump sum of 2 million euros ($2.5 million) for flouting a 2005 Court of Justice decision that the aid was illegal.

Greece had injected 41 million euros ($52.5 million) of "restructuring" money into Olympic Airways, plus an untold amount of taxes, fees and Social Security contributions.

The European Commission claimed Greece failed to comply with the court's decision and is obligated to recover the money it gave the airline.

Mengozzi said the commission hasn't proven that Greece failed to recover the money, but nor has Greece shown that Olympic Airways paid the outstanding balance.

Mengozzi urged the high court to reduce the daily fine from 50,000 euros to 15,768 euros for each day Greece fails to comply with the court order, and to impose a 2 million euro lump-sum payment.

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