NEWS

Prosecutors dial down tampering allegations

The two financial prosecutors who threatened to resign over alleged interference in their work, which includes major tax evasion cases, failed on Monday to provide any evidence to back up their initial claims about their investigations being put at jeopardy by meddling from others.

The allegations are being probed by Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Fotis Makris, who questioned the two financial prosecutors, Spyros Mouzakitis and Grigoris Peponis, for the second time in less than a week on Monday.

The investigation into their claims of interference was reopened after Mouzakitis and Peponis complained that the Supreme Court had not given them enough time to give detailed information about alleged attempts by political and economic interests to influence their cases.

However, sources said that the two prosecutors did not mention a single case in which a politician or someone representing political or economic interests interfered in their work. They did refer to third parties conveying the displeasure of ministers or other public officials but admitted that this did not have any influence on their investigations.

In testimony on Thursday, Mouzakitis and Peponis said they were approached by third parties in connection to three cases. Sources said the judicial officials named some individuals that came to see them in their offices — including a journalist and several lawyers — to convey the sentiments of a third party.

One of the three cases the prosecutors mentioned is thought to be their investigation into claims of statistics being manipulated at the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) in 2009 to present Greece having a bigger public deficit than it actually did.

However, the prosecutors clarified on Monday that they did not consider these contacts to have been attempts to pervert the course of justice.

Peponis and Mouzakitis have been handling a number of high-profile cases, including claims that tax officials did not collect fines on fuel trading firms.