Central Macedonia governor to appeal sentence

The Governor of Central Macedonia, Panayiotis Psomiadis has denied any serious wrongdoing after an appeals court upheld a suspended 1-year jail sentence for breach of duty after reducing the fine for a Thessaloniki gas station that sold adulterated fuel while he was the northern city?s prefect.

Speaking on Alter TV, Psomiadis admitted that he signed the decision to reduce the penalty but accused his local political opponents of a witch hunt as he claims that he was not involved in any serious foul play.

?I have never tried to hide where I put my signature, I never accepted bribes, I never did favors, I never backed away from confrontation in support of what I believe in,? said the outspoken governor.

?I reduced the penalty for offenses that related to 1,300 liters of adulterated fuel.?

The governor was found guilty of reducing from 89,000 euros to 5,000 euros fines that were imposed in 2005. Psomiadis?s sentence has been suspended for three years but he said that his offense pales into insignificance in comparison to the wrongdoing of politicians serving in central government.

?I did not order any tilting submarines, nor did I sign bribe-induced contracts for telecommunications equipment, nor do I have any off shore companies, nor did I embezzle public funds, nor did I sell off public property, nor did I reduce the fines of famous people by 1,000 times, nor was I part of the stock exchange scandal, nor did I sign the memorandum,? said the New Democracy politician who took up his position as Central Macedonia governor after last November?s local elections.

Psomiadis said that he had received calls from ND leader Antonis Samaras and the head of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) Giorgos Karatzaferis. He said he would appeal against his sentencing, adding that he was ?Too hard to die politically?.

Psomiadis said he will take his case to the Supreme Court. His brother, Dionysis Psomiadis, who is deputy governor, is likely to temporarily take over until the Supreme Court issues a final decision.

If the decision is not reversed, Psomiadis will be removed from his position and his party, New Democracy, will have to choose a new governor.

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