The City Council of Xanthi, issued an urgent resolution that was sent to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis, and Economy Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou, asking them to help avert the bankruptcy of the largest industry in the city, the SEKAP tobacco company.

The owner, Ivan Savvidis, called a board meeting for today to discuss bankruptcy procedures, after an appellate court in Komotini, Thrace, upheld a 38.2 million euro fine for a contraband violation that occurred before Savvidis bought the company and made it profitable.

It had previously been state-owned.

SEKAP’s famed lawyer, Alexandros Lykourezos, said that the company has filed a petition with the court to block the customs bureau’s call to pay the 38.2 million euro fine, and to freeze the process. The petition will be examined by a Komotini court tomorrow.

Lykourezos said the court’s rationale in upholding the fine was on shaky legal ground, and that SEKAP has filed suit with the Council of State, asking it to reverse the Komotini appellate court’s recent ruling.

Nearly 200 workers are employed by the company.

The City Council resolutions states that, “It is tragic for a healthy and profitable business – which does not owe a single euro, employs hundreds of workers, contributes millions of euros each year to public revenues and insurance funds, and is an economic and labour lung for Xanthi and the wider area – to be in danger of shutting down.”

In the text, the mayor and the council expressed their own and citizens’ heightened concerns regarding the fate of the historic tobacco company.

“An historic company, which was saved just yesterday, and was transformed from a troubled, over-indebted company into a vehicle for growth, unfortunately is again at point zero, burdened since 2009 with a huge, 38.2 million euro fine,” the resolution stated.

“The company is of vital significance for the regional economy, as it directly or indirectly offers work to over 200 families,” the resolution underlined.

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