General Secretariat for Public Investments said some of the €287m was spent on the concert hall’s car park
The Megaron Over a quarter of a billion euros of public money was given to the Athens Concert Hall between 1999 and 2011, MPs were told on Tuesday.
In a written reply to a question tabled by Syriza MPs, the General Secretariat for Public Investments said that the concert hall, commonly known as the Megaron, received €287,291,456 over 13 years.
Commonly known as the Megaron, the institution is owned by a non-profit NGO called the Athens Concert Hall Organisation. Half of its broad members are appointed by the culture ministry and the other half by another NGO, the Association of the Friends of Music.
It was established by the late Christos Lambrakis, owner of one of the country’s biggest media groups DOL, which publishes Ta Nea and To Vima among other interests.
In its reply, the General Secretariat for Public Investments said the sums were for projects such as the concert hall’s car park, the conference and cultural centre. Other sums were simply described as “grants”.
The same document clarified that no Megaron project has featured in the Public Investments Programme since 2011.
The information sent to Parliament was the first in a series requested by 28 Syriza MPs from the ministries of culture, finance and development. These concern funding received by the Athens Concert Hall company, including payments from the Public Investments Fund, bank loans and loan guarantees supplied by the state.
They cite a previous reply by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras that the Megaron has taken out three loans backed by a state guarantee for the sum of €245m, while the state had in March 2011 also undertaken to pay off a loan of €95m given to the Megaron by the Bank of Greece, at a time when the country was already under troika fiscal control.
They also asked for the report drawn up a firm of international auditors evaluating the market value of the concert hall’s second building at €432m and ask whether the state will make a commitment that this real estate will not be transferred to private owners.