The European Union's Court of Justice ruled Thursday that Greece illegally ignored an EU order to recover millions of euros (dollars) in aid it gave to the ailing Olympic national airline.
The Luxembourg-based court said Greece "had not fulfilled its obligations" to take back the handouts from Olympic Airlines SA and its predecessor Olympic Airways.
EU officials said last November that Olympic would have to repay 130 million euros ($189.6 million) to the Greek government.
The ruling confirmed three previous EU court decisions since 2002, which backed the EU's executive Commission's arguments that the millions of euros (dollars) in direct aid and subsidies violated state aid rules and gave Olympic an unfair advantage over competitors.
Greece and Olympic Airlines still have an appeal pending in a lower EU court to annul earlier Commission decisions against restructuring aid and subsidies given to the airline.
Olympic Airlines won a small victory last year at the EU court when it said the Commission failed to prove some of the funds violated EU state aid rules. Those funds involved unpaid taxes on fuel and spare parts, as well as unpaid fees to Athens International Airport.
For years, Greece supplied subsidies to the struggling national airline, which in 2001 had debts totaling some 120 million euros ($166 million). In 2003, the government incorporated the assets of debt-ridden Olympic Airways and two subsidiaries into the newly named Olympic Airlines.