NEWS

Resigned prosecutors follow up claims

Supreme Court prosecutor Yiannis Tentes ordered an investigation on Thursday into claims by two financial prosecutors who resigned on Wednesday after claiming that a ?variety of organized interests? were attempting to derail their probes into a range of offenses, including tax evasion.

The two prosecutors, Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis, met on Thursday with Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Nikos Pantelis and, according to sources, gave substantial details to support their allegations of interference from outside the judiciary.

On Wednesday, Peponis and Mouzakitis claimed ?politicoeconomic intervention? in their work, a lack of technical support and that their positions were being undermined by an imminent change to the law that would have passed their duties to a deputy prosecutor at the Supreme Court.

Tentes assigned the investigation to deputy prosecutor Fotis Makris, who is set to ask next week for written clarification from Peponis and Mouzakitis.

The prosecutors reportedly told Pantelis that they believe the decision to change the law and pass their duties to someone else was an attempt to block them from carrying out further investigations.

Peponis and Mouzakitis had recently launched probes into a number of high-profile cases, including major tax evasion, the resignation of Finance Ministry official Diomidis Spinellis after claims that fines on fuel trading firms were not being collected, banks? funding of Alter TV, allegations of benefits cheating and claims of fiddled statistics at the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

They were also investigating the continued financing of indebted political parties by banks and claims of corruption at tax offices. But the two prosecutors reportedly told Pantelis that their probes into major tax evasion seem to have particularly upset some people. Peponis had to request three times from the Finance Ministry the list of 14,700 people who owe more than 150,000 euros to the state, which was used to order numerous arrests in recent weeks.

The prosecutors added that since they were appointed in May, their request for secretarial support had not been granted and that they had been using their own computers.