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Real Question for Greece Is What Now: Wilbur Ross

Sunday, 17 Jun 2012 | 7:21 PM ET

Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor and Chairman of private equity firm, WL Ross & Co., says the real question facing Greece is what policies the new government will implement after the pro-bailout New Democracy party won the most votes in Sunday’s vote.

Lucien Capehart | Getty Images

New Democracy’s leader Antonis Samaras told CNBC, the election results should reassure investors that Greece was anchored to the euro. His comments are likely to provide some relief to investors worried that the election result would lead Greece out of the euro zone.

Risk assets, including the euro and oiledged higher on Monday morning in early Asia trade.

But the Greek government still faces a huge gap between its liabilities and revenues and the country risks running out of cash.

According to Ross, the government should prioritize selling off state assets such as real estate and government-owned companies, a move that wouldn’t be as unpopular as austerity measures, which have hurt incomes and employment.

“I think that what this government really needs to do is to start out with the privatization of some of the assets that they’ve been sitting on that never should have been governmentalized in the beginning and show that they will do good faith,” Ross told CNBC Asia’s “Squawk Box” on Monday morning.

Wilbur Ross: Greece Should Sell State Assets
Wilbur Ross, Chairman of WL Ross & Co says the real question for Greece after the elections is what happens now. He says Greece should privatize state assets and improve tax collection.

Asked if his firm would be interested in buying some of these assets, Ross said he didn’t know what assets the government would sell and added: “I don’t really want to inflate the price by saying this, that and something else.”

Ross also said the government has to improve tax collection for a more permanent solution to the country’s debt problems and said higher revenues would allow the country to ease up on austerity measures.

“The tax avoidance in Greece — including by government officials — is ridiculous. The black economy is a ridiculously high percentage,” he said. “Those are the problems they have to deal with and if they can deal with those than more limited austerity is what’s needed.”

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