NEWS

Screws turned on two probes

Greece’s top prosecutor yesterday called for the appointment of special investigating judges to handle two separate, high-profile investigations involving telecoms and lottery software tycoon Socrates Kokkalis and a former investigating magistrate accused of having an affair with a lawyer representing firms she was scrutinizing. Supreme Court prosecutor Evangelos Kroustallakis, who last year headed calls for a crusade against corruption, took the extraordinary step of convoking the plenary session of Greece’s 212 appeals court judges to discuss whether the two cases should be subject to top-level investigation. In the past, the council has appointed investigating judges for the Koskotas scandal, the OTE phone-tapping affair and the November 17 terrorism investigation. In the case of Kokkalis, against whom charges of espionage on behalf of the former East German secret police, embezzlement, money laundering and fraud were brought last February, only to be shelved by investigating magistrate Giorgos Pournaras due to lack of evidence in January, Kroustallakis said Pournaras’s decision was «not a normal procedural act.» The top prosecutor said the charges against Kokkalis «are extremely serious and concern the exercise of state power, create issues regarding our country’s foreign relations and, for good reason, are of concern to public opinion.» He also called for an investigating judge to look into alleged misconduct by former magistrate Constantina Bourboulia, who headed a probe into the 1999 stock market rally and subsequent crash. An inquiry started last month found Bourboulia should be charged for breach of duty and for failing to report her relationship with a lawyer representing firms whose affairs she was investigating.