OPAP And Cyprus Govt At Loggerheads

Gambling giant refusing to open its books for audit without confidentiality agreement in place

Cypriot media agencies are reporting an interesting development regarding OPAP who has reportedly refused to open up its books to the Cypriot Treasury for an audit unless a confidentiality agreement is in place.

Through a bilateral agreement signed by Cyprus and Greece, prior to a majority share in OPAP being sold in 2013, OPAP is the only company authorized to run lottery games on the island.

According to the Cyprus Mail, the claim was made before the House Finance Committee who had gathered to discuss a bill that would reform legislation on games of chance.
Cyprus’ Auditor-General Odysseas Michaelides revealed Treasury had collected an average of Euro 10 million per annum in revenues from OPAP up until 2013, however, believes that the amount should be closer to Euro 35 million based on OPAP’s reported turnover.

“We do not feel comfortable with the current state of affairs, to grant the right to one provider without an open competition,” Michaelides told the committee. “What is most important is the state’s share. If it is obvious that the public interest is served with a single operator, then we concur.”

Rejecting the signing of a confidentiality agreement, Attorney-general Costas Clerides has reportedly ordered a police investigation into OPAP following its refusal to cooperate.

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