Judges among 21 charged over auction racket

A prosecutor on Thursday brought charges against 21 suspected members of a new trial-fixing ring, including judges, prosecutors, notaries and tax office clerks, who are alleged to have been rigging property auctions to make a profit estimated at more than 2 billion euros.

The suspected members of the ring, which allegedly set up bogus companies to acquire the properties, face a string of charges including abuse of power, bribe taking and money laundering.

The case came to light after three banks lodged legal suits claiming that unidentified individuals had been trying to block the auction of their properties.