NEWS

New search for Psomiadis begins

Just a few days after a magistrate decided to release Makis Psomiadis, the soccer club owner alleged to be at the center of a large match-fixing ring, on bail of 600,000 euros, a council of judges voted on Tuesday for the businessman to be arrested, although it was not clear if authorities were aware of his whereabouts.

Despite the recommendation of public prosecutor Athina Theodoropoulou, magistrate Giorgos Kassimis released Psomiadis last week but the council of appeals court judges ruled that the 55-year-old should be remanded in custody until his trial takes place.

The magistrate had deemed Psomiadis not to be a flight risk despite the fact that authorities had been unable to trace him for more than two months after an international warrant was issued for his arrest in June.

Psomiadis was found earlier this month hiding in a villa southeast of Athens. The anti-terrorist squad and Greece?s intelligence services helped police track the fugitive.

He claimed he had been waiting for the prosecutor investigating the match-fixing claims to return from vacation before presenting himself to authorities.

Behind the scenes, many in the judicial system questioned Kassimis?s decision to release Psomiadis, who has a long history of run-ins with the authorities for offenses ranging from smuggling to embezzlement. Psomiadis has been convicted several times but has always avoided long periods of time in jail on grounds of ill health.

The owner of Kavala soccer club denies any connection to the match-fixing ring, which is alleged to have made millions of euros by betting on the outcome of soccer games which various officials and players colluded to fix.

Former Panathinaikos chairman Nikos Pateras was questioned by Kassimis Tuesday after being called as a witness by Psomiadis?s lawyer. Pateras reportedly told the magistrate that he did not think the Kavala owner was involved in match fixing.