NEWS

Siemens trial sparks war of words

TAGS: Corruption

Justice officials have lashed out against suggestions leaked to the media that appeals court prosecutors were responsible for the indefinite postponement of the Siemens cash-for-contract deals trial due to a technicality.

The union of judges and prosecutors issued a tough statement on Thursday, saying that an effort was under way to bring the country’s justice system into disrepute, creating “insecurity among citizens.”

The announcement came after the newly appointed Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou ordered deputy prosecutor Anna Zairi on Wednesday to conduct an investigation into the reasons behind the trial’s delay.

The much publicized suspension, which critics have said is an embarrassment to the country’s leftist-led government, also prompted Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to contact Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos earlier in the week to push for the trial’s resumption as as soon as possible.

Paraskevopoulos met with Dimitriou on Thursday, requesting that an exception be made for the case as well as that against former PASOK transport minister Tasos Mantelis – which was also postponed and will start from scratch – so that they jump the queue and be expedited.

However, Justice Ministry sources said on Thursday that the time frame will be designated after at least two months, mainly because the indictment ruling must be translated into German and French for the one French-Swiss and 13 German defendants.

This was the initial reason why the trial – which is investigating allegations that Siemens bribed Greek politicians to use their influence to award the German company the contract to digitialize Greece’ OTE telecom – was postponed on Tuesday.

Moreover, proceedings will be further compounded by the fact that all the accused – including former Siemens and OTE executives – and witnesses must receive their court summons all over again.

State prosecutor Isidoros Doyiakos said the allegations in the media, which point the finger at him as the person responsible for the delays, were politically motivated and denounced what he called “atrocious insinuations.”

In a statement, he reiterated that the prosecutor in charge of the trial had repeatedly asked the translation department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry to speed up the translation process.

Doyiakos also presented documents to prove that both the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice had been informed and asked to assist with the translation efforts.

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