Clock ticking for Folli Follie case

Trial expected to finally resume as Athens Bar plans to grant permission for lawyers to attend

Clock ticking for Folli Follie case

With the risk that the statute of limitations will expire for a number of offenses related to the criminal case of troubled jewelry maker Folli Follie looming, the trial is expected to finally take place in June as the Athens Bar Association is poised to grant permission for lawyers to attend the proceedings.

The trial of Folli Follie had for a long time been essentially deadlocked, as lawyers had declared abstention from their duties in trials concerning criminal organizations due to legal disagreements which they cited regarding a legislative provision stating that any sentences to be imposed, even for a few months’ imprisonment, will be served – that is, the defendants will go to jail.

The way things stand now, and if nothing changes, the trial will continue in June.

“The Athens Bar Association has decided to give permission to its members, lawyers, to attend the trial in question, due to the imminent risk of the statute of limitations expiring for certain offenses,” said Dimitris Vervesos, president of the Athens Bar Association, in comments to Kathimerini.

For its part, the Justice Ministry had not for a long time formulated any legislative proposal that could possibly satisfy the lawyers and bring them back into the courtrooms, thus entrenching the deadlock.

In response, the president of the court, Maria Andreopoulou, took the unprecedented decision in judicial history last December to stop the proceedings, which were dead anyway, and to postpone the trial until June.

The president, whose decision caused a sensation, stressed, in justifying the court’s decision to postpone the trial, that the risk of the statute of limitations expiring lurks if the situation continues, since, as she said, in the case in question, there are acts that will soon be time-barred, with all that this may mean for the effective administration of justice.

“We are being held hostage,” Andreopoulou had underlined at the time, when she postponed the trial, insisting, “we cannot try any more cases,” while referring to “a trial of exceptional gravity for the domestic legal order.”

The trial concerns Folli Follie founder Dimitris Koutsolioutsos and his son Tzortzis as the main defendants. A total of 13 people are to stand in the dock on charges of falsified balance sheets, financial offenses and also for forming a criminal organization.

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