Last night's Michael Batiste case has unintentionally affected and scarred Panathinaikos BC for ever as it seems, since the club's president and majority shareholder announced that he is stepping down from the club.
Let's take things from the beginning. As it is known, Panathinaikos BC changed management this past summer as Dimitris Giannakopoulos (son of previous owner Pavlos Giannakopoulos who reigned the club form 1987 to 2002) took over from Thanasis Giannakopoulos (his uncle and brother of Pavlos) who had the club's management for a decade from 2002 to 2012.
After the Batiste incident, Panathinaikos had to pay 200.000 euros due to Greek tax authorities from the player's playing days in Greece. According to what Dimitris Giannakopoulos said in the press conference, his uncle's associates hid a lot of facts and debts from him when the club's ownership was transitioned.
He even went as far as to accuse his uncle Thanasis for the departure of Zeljko Obradovic, claiming that the club owed the coach and many players large sums. The current owner of the club says he was unaware of these debts as he wasn't properly informed.
The club already had to lower its budget for some years in a row as it is, but since new debts and liabilities are emerging, Dimitris Giannakopoulos claims he doesn not possess the financial capabilities of covering them, hence he quits the clubs and is giving away his shares for free, to anyone interested.
"I regret to say this, but I have proves for all my claims. I can't cover these debts although I wanted to keep Panathinaikos on a high level. Many of you, including fans have accused me, but I kept my mouth shut for long enough. I can not tolerate betrayal from my own blood, I can not continue being at Panathinaikos. That's all" said Dimitris Giannakopoulos before leaving the conference room in tears.
If nobody steps up, previous owner Thanasis Giannakopoulos, the shares will be transferred to the name Panathinaikos Amateur Club (Greek legal entity, mothership of all the sporting departments of a club), but considering their dire financial state, the club will have to urgently find an investor and new owner or they will have to sell out their players and slash their budget to match their income.
The club was expecting their largest Euroleague attendance of the season and had scheduled festivities to honour Michael Batiste for his nine years of service to the club, but no one knows what the atmosphere will be like in OAKA tonight.
We will keep you updated if anything else comes up.