November 7, 2014 / 3:48 PM / 4 years ago

Greek auditors unblock $1.2 billion state property sale: sources

A limousine service stand is seen outside the east terminal of the former Athens International airport, Hellenikon June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek auditors have unblocked a $1.2 billion sale of a prime seaside property at the abandoned Athens airport of Hellenikon, court officials said on Friday, freeing up Greece’s biggest privatization deal since its debt crisis.

The auditors in September had blocked the sale of the property from privatization agency HRADF to Lamda Development, which is backed by Chinese and Abu Dhabi-based firms, saying the tender terms violated the principles of transparency and equal treatment.

The privatization agency appealed the decision, and the auditors ruled on Friday that the tender met all the legal criteria, opening the way for the deal to go through, the court sources said on condition of anonymity.

Completion of the sale could take up to two years because it must obtain a series of approvals, including the auditors’ green light.

Raising funds through privatizations is a major part of Greece’s bailout agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Athens has signed privatization deals worth 5 billion euros ($6.2 billion) since 2011 and aims to reach cumulative proceeds of 9.6 billion euros by the end of 2016.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Jane Baird

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