Greek officials reacted angrily to a report in Britain’s Independent newspaper Tuesday suggesting that Olympics officials from the debt-wracked nation are spending thousand of pounds on an exclusive private members’ club in London. The Carlton Club in St James’s has been booked to serve as the House of Hellenes for about a week at a fee of 150,000 pounds, or 192,000 euros, the paper said. Harris Ikonomopoulos, president of the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday dismissed the report as “ridiculous, vile lies” for suggesting that taxpayers’ money is being squandered.
He said some 50,000 euros -- for the rent as well as several initiatives- came from the state-run OPAP gaming firm while the rest of the money was contributed by private donors including chief 2004 organizer Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. Organizers say the aim is to promote Greece’s image and to attract private investment.
A similar campaign in Beijing in 2008 is said to have cost some 7 million euros over 3 weeks.