Dimitris Melissanidis

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Dimitris Melissanidis
Δημήτρης Μελισσανίδης
Born (1951-06-15) June 15, 1951 (age 64)[1]
Nikaia, Greece
Residence Athens, Greece
Nationality  Greece
Occupation entrepreneur and shipowner
Net worth Increase US$3.4 billion (2015)
Board member of
Founder & Owner of Aegean Marine Petroleum
Co-Owner of Emma Delta Hellenic Holdings Ltd
Administrative leader of AEK Athens F.C.
Majority shareholder of OPAP
Religion Greek orthodox

Dimitris Melissanidis (Greek: Δημήτρης Μελισσανίδης) born June 15, 1951 in Nikaia, Greece, is a Greek business shipping magnate and oil tycoon who is one of Greece's most successful businessmen.[2] Dimitris Melissanidis who is nicknamed "Tiger" is sometimes described as the largest supplier of fuel oil on the planet.[3] He is the founder and owner of Aegean Marine Petroleum which is the largest independent fuel supplier in the world and the second largest Oil company in Greece,[4][5] a majority shareholder of OPAP which is Europe's biggest betting firm,[6][7] the co-owner of Emma Delta Ltd [8] and leader of AEK Athens F.C.

Melissanidis is a member of the Lloyd's List of the 100 most influential people in the world shipping industry and has been repeatedly acknowledged for his prestigious international shipping contribution.[9] Melissanidis has also been acknowledged for his successful business career on Forbes magazine.[10]

He has served as AEK Athens Football Club's thirtieth (30th) and thirty second (32nd) president, serving from 1992–1993 and 1994-1995 respectively. He was also president of AEK during 1998-1999 but ENIC Group was the shareholder.

On June 7, 2013, with AEK relegated to the Amateur Division because of financial problems, Dimitris Melissanidis became again active for the club as an administrative leader. Later, together with other notable AEK fans and old players, they created the non-profit association "Union of Friends AEK" (Enosi Filon AEK) which took the majority stake of the football club.[11]

Early life[edit]

Melissanidis was born in Nikaia, Greece but was raised in Athens and is the son of a refugee from the Caucasus, Zoras Melissanidis, active in Pontian affairs, and a deeply respected local political figure prior to his forced move to a suburb of Athens.[12] Melissanidis began as a businessman in 1975 who owned a small driving school in Korydallos.[13]

Business career[edit]

Emma Delta Ltd[edit]

Melissanidis is the Co-owner of Emma Delta Ltd alongside Czech businessman Jiri Smejc.[8][14][15] Emma Delta is an investment company that invests in companies and holds shares in many companies. In 2013 Emma Delta acquired 33% of OPAP Greece's gambling monopoly which is Europe's biggest betting firm for €652 million which was funded by co owners Melissanidis and Jiri Smejc.


Main article: OPAP

Melissanidis is also the Co-owner of Emma Delta Ltd alongside Czech businessman Jiri Smejc.[8] In 2013 Emma Delta acquired 33% of Europe's biggest betting firm OPAP for €652 million which was funded by coowners Melissanidis and Jiri Smejc. Melissanidis invested the majority of the money into OPAP which makes him the majority shareholder of OPAP.[6][16][17] At the signing, Melissanidis ended his statement by commenting that “OPAP is turning a page”.[18]

Aegean Marine Petroleum[edit]

Melissanidis is the founder and owner of Aegean Marine Petroleum. He launched the business in 1995. Aegean Marine Petroleum is listed the second largest Oil company in Greece behind Hellenic Petroleum. Aegean Marine Petroleum is also the largest independent fuel supplier in the world.[5] Aegean is a large oil and shipping company in Greece and has a global presence in 33 markets, including America, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia, The Netherlands, Romania, Turkey, Switzerland, South Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Singapore, Morocco, Gibraltar, Fujairah, Cape Verde, Panama, The United Arab Emirates, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and The Canary Islands.[19]

Aegean Marine Petroleum is a marine fuel logistics company that markets and physically supplies refined marine fuel and lubricants to ships in port and at sea. The Company procures product from various sources (such as refineries, oil producers, and traders) and resells it to a diverse group of customers across all major commercial shipping sectors and leading cruise lines.

Among other things, it supplies the United States Navy, and one of its associated companies trades in the New York stock exchange.[20][21]

Aegean Oil is also the leading marine fuels physical supplier in Greece.[22]

AEK Athens F.C.[edit]

Main article: AEK Athens F.C.

Melissanidis was President of AEK Athens F.C. during the 90's. In 2008 Melissanidis wanted to buy AEK and offered to purchase the club for a fee between €120 million to €150 million. However the deal broke through and negotiations were ended.[23]

On June 7, 2013, Dimitris Melissanidis became again active for AEK, after they declared bankruptcy, in order to save the club and bring them back to success. The club declared bankruptcy and were relegated to Greece's third tier. The club was reported to owe €170 million ($219 million) in taxes and will start the 2013/14 campaign in the Football League 2, the country's third amateur division.[24] Later, together with other notable AEK fans and old players, they created the non-profit association "Union of Friends AEK" (Enosi Filon AEK) which took the majority stake of the football club.

Since the arrival and return of Melissandis to the club, Melissanidis has secured major sponsorship deals which will give the club a huge financial boost. Melissanidis has secured a €2.1 million sponsorship deal from Greece's gambling monopoly OPAP, a €1.5 million contract with Greek Telecommunications company Nova Sports and €1 million sponsorship deal with Fujitsu.

Melissanidis has unveiled plans to build AEK a new stadium in Nea Filadelfia and to promote the club back to Superleague Greece.[25][26]

On October 2, 2013 the AEK Athens board, under Dimitris Melissanidis, presented plans for the new stadium to the municipality of Nea Filadelfeia, in order to gain permission to build. A new 4-star UEFA system stadium will be built, seating between 32,500 and 35,000 spectators. The cost of this project is estimated to be around €70-80 million. It is modelled after the Agia Sophia church in Constantinople, as AEK has its roots there. It is rumoured that the stadium will be under construction from January 2014 and will be finished in December 2015. Around 1,500-2,000 new jobs will become available and the neighbourhood is expected to benefit largely from this endeavour.[27] The design of the stadium was designed by Italian architect Massimo Majowiecki. He is most known for designing the home ground of the Juventus Stadium.[28]


Melissanidis in January 2014 was honoured with the title of Kouropalates (cura palatii) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, a title given for the first time since 1453.[29]


Dimitris Melissanidis has been involved in many controversies over the years.[30] During the time of negotiations with OPAP, Costas Louropoulos, OPAP’s chief executive, felt put “under pressure by Mr Melissanidis in a series of telephone calls. “He insulted me, as on many previous occasions. . . You dare to sign [the Intralot and lottery contracts] and I will take your head off”, Mr Louropoulos quoted Mr Melissanidis as telling him on May 20, 2013”, according to the "Financial Times".[31] Also, immediately after the signing of the OPAP deal, the Greek privatization agency chairman, Stelios Stavridis, was dismissed by Greek Finance Minister, Yannis Stournaras, “for ethical reasons”, when news reports emerged that he travelled on Dimitris Melissanidis’ private jet.[32]

Furthermore in a highly publicized incident, discussed in the Greek Parliament, calling from an ‘Aegean Oil’ listed telephone number, Melissanidis personally bullied with death threats to Lefteris Charalambopoulos,[33] the Greek reporter who published the government report in the left-wing ‘Unfollow’ magazine.[34][35] The caller self-identified as Dimitris Melissanidis threatened the reporters life repeatedly. Part of what was said by the man self-identified as Dimitris Melissanidis, which was taken down by the reporter, follows: “I could have you killed without having warned you. But I am a man and I’m gonna have you blown up in your sleep. I’ll have you killed, you, your wife, your children, everything you’ve got”. When the reporter told the caller that he would alert the authorities, he replied: “Screw you and the authorities. I don’t understand anything, I am Melissanidis. You will not be able to sleep. You will not be able to go out, I’ll be your nightmare. Fear of me will haunt you. They will come to your house and blow you up in your sleep. I am used to talking to big journalists. I looked you up and I will tear you down”.[36]

In 1996, Melissanidis and his business partner, Yiannis Karras, were charged to a prison sentence[37] for oil smuggling, however the charges were dropped and Melissanidis was not found guilty for oil smuggling.[38]

In 2013 Melissanidis was charged for smuggling and forgery, but his trial has been postponed four times already, while state attorneys were absent on all four occasions. His trial has not been rescheduled.[34] Left-wing political party SYRIZA have complained in the Greek parliament about this issue and that Melissanidis has not affected imprisonment for smuggling and forgery as he has been protected through his lawyer, Failos Kranidiotis (who is a consultant and longtime friend to the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras). Melissanidis also holds strong relations with the centre-right political party New Democracy which was governing Greece up to January 2015. Left-wing political party SYRIZA, which is now the leading partner in the current government's two-party alliance, have filed complaints that Melissanidis is being protected by the government in Greece.[citation needed]

Furthermore, after Melissanidis assumed OPAP's management, AEK, a third tier Greek bankrupt football club, also owned by Dimitris Melissanidis, received a €2.1 million sponsorship deal. Protesting about “unfair competition” due to Melissanidis’ management of both AEK and OPAP, some Greek football teams pulled out of their OPAP sponsorship contracts. Olympiacos F.C. pulled out of its €1.9 million sponsorship deal with OPAP.[39] Also Apollon Smyrni FC, one of the oldest Greek sports clubs, rejected a €250,000 OPAP sponsorship offer, opting instead to continue its support for a small children's charity, ‘Friends of the Child’ by displaying its logo on their jerseys for free.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Melissanidis' age
  2. ^ Forbes
  3. ^ Biography
  4. ^ Aegean oil second largest oil company in greece
  5. ^ a b Aegean largest independent fuel supplier in the world
  6. ^ a b Emma Delta acquired 33 % of OPAP
  7. ^ Melissanidis major shareholder of OPAP
  8. ^ a b c Melissanidis Emma Delta Ltd
  9. ^ Dimitrios Melissanidis Lloy'ds List - Top 100
  10. ^ Melissanidis forbes
  11. ^ Mεγαλομέτοχος της ΠΑΕ η Ένωση Φίλων ΑΕΚ
  12. ^ Early life
  13. ^ Success in life
  14. ^ Melissanidis Emma delta co owner
  15. ^ Melissanidis Emma delta Jiri Smejc
  16. ^ Melissanidis largest investor
  17. ^ Melissanidis GEONAMA
  18. ^ Melissanidis statement
  19. ^ Aegean Inc
  20. ^ Aegean oil american navy
  21. ^ Aegean oil supplies american navy
  22. ^ Aegean oil leading marine supplier in greece
  23. ^ Melissanidis AEK 2008
  24. ^ AEK debts
  25. ^ AEK build new stadium
  26. ^ Dimitrios Melissanidis unvelis new plans for AEK
  27. ^ http://www.gazzetta.gr/football/article/547028/aek-ayto-einai-spiti-soy-pics-vid
  28. ^ http://aek365.com/a-273056/o-rolos-kleidi-tou-masimo-magiobietski-gia-thn-filadelfeia.htm Massimo Majowiecki designs the new AEK stadium
  29. ^ Μελισσανίδης Κουροπαλάτης
  30. ^ http://www.thepressproject.net/article/57229/Melissanidis
  31. ^ Kerin Hope (June 27, 2013). "Greece faces collapse of second key privatization". Financial Times. 
  32. ^ Harry Papachristou (Aug 18, 2013). "UPDATE 2-Greek privatisation chief dismissed over holiday flight". Reuters. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  33. ^ Baboulias Yiannis (5 February 2013). "Reporter receives death threats from man self-identified as Aegean Oil magnate (UPDATES)". Urban Diaries. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  34. ^ a b Augustine Zenakos (February 3, 2013). "REPORTER THREATENED OVER AEGEAN OIL SMUGGLING REPORT". Borderline Reports. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  35. ^ Elektra Kotsoni (February 2013). "A Greek Oil Baron Wants to Blow Me Up in My Sleep". Vice. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  36. ^ Dimitrios Melissanidis
  37. ^ "ΑΚΟΜΗ ΣΤΗ ΦΥΛΑΚΗ Ο ΜΕΛΙΣΣΑΝΙΔΗΣ". Makedonia. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  38. ^ Ktenas Spyros (1996-10-20). "Οι λαθρέμποροι πετρελαίου κλέβουν 80 εκατ. την ημέρα". To Vima (Το Βήμα). Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  39. ^ Panos Bletsos (18 September 2013). "Olympiacos ditch OPAP sponsor cash over AEK row". Inside World Football. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 

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