NEWS

Hundreds of jail releases probed in wake of Floros affair

IOANNA MANDROU

TAGS: Justice

The case of former power firm executive Aristidis Floros, who secured his early release from prison last month using forged certificates, appears to be only the tip of the iceberg as corruption prosecutors are also investigating another 700 instances of prisoners going free after claiming to have a disability.

In the wake of the public outcry resulting from his release, 39-year-old Floros was ordered last week to return to jail after a summons from a Supreme Court prosecutor in Athens calling for a complete re-examination of the medical documentation the convict submitted to secure his release just 36 months into his 21-year sentence.

According to the tenets of the much-derided Paraskevopoulos law, prisoners whose degree of disability is 67 percent or more can be released.

Kathimerini understands that a large number of those 700 prisoners were freed legally, but a substantial number of them reportedly secured their release using illegal certifications and loopholes in the Paraskevopoulos law, which was voted through Parliament in 2015.

All these release cases will be scrutinized by the relevant prosecutors and the extent of illegalities that may be uncovered could prove decisive for the survival of the Paraskevopoulos law, which critics say has loopholes allowing for widespread illegal practices.

Prosecutors involved in the Floros case are currently probing the scope of the involvement of doctors at the state hospital that issued his certification.

On Monday, a corruption prosecutor questioned a doctor at the capital’s Evangelismos Hospital who confessed to forging the health certificate for Floros but denied receiving a bribe.

The deposition, however, of an Evangelismos Hospital director, Spyros Zakinthinos, reportedly suggested that the doctor in question played a larger role in the scam that he would have liked prosecutors to believe.

Corruption prosecutors are soon expected to call in the doctor for further questioning, as well as other doctors that signed health certificates on Floros’s behalf.

Moreover, reports yesterday said the investigation is not confined solely to Evangelismos Hospital.

According to judicial sources, the corruption prosecutor’s office has already collected documents and invalidity certificates issued on behalf of Floros from all the state hospitals (Evangelismos, Attikon and others) and the Korydallos Prison Hospital, where he had been hospitalized.

Apart from the doctors, prosecutors are also probing lawyers who signed the detention order or handled the case on behalf of Floros.

Floros was convicted to 21 years in prison in February 2017 for embezzlement, smuggling and money laundering over the Energa power company scandal, as well as another 13 years in 2014 for ordering an assassination attempt against a lawyer.

Online