NEWS

Kroustallakis rebuffed on probes

Greece’s appeals court judges yesterday rejected a proposal by the country’s top prosecutor for the appointment of special investigating judges to handle two separate, high-profile probes regarding telecoms and lottery software tycoon Socrates Kokkalis and a former investigating magistrate accused of conducting an affair with a lawyer representing firms she was scrutinizing. A 115-67 majority of the country’s 212 appeals court judges voted against the surprise bid by Supreme Court prosecutor Evangelos Kroustallakis to turn the screws on the two investigations. The remaining 19 judges attended the session but left before the vote. Kokkalis was charged last February with espionage on behalf of the former East German secret police, embezzlement, money laundering and fraud. But in January, investigating magistrate Giorgos Pournaras proposed shelving the charges due to lack of evidence. On June 10, Kroustallakis convoked the plenary session of the Council of Appeals Court Judges for yesterday, criticizing Pournaras’s decision as «not a normal procedural act.» But the council majority ruled that there was no need for a special investigating magistrate to take over the case, as Pournaras’s proposal has still to be approved by the council. In the past, the council has appointed special investigating magistrates for the Koskotas embezzlement scandal, the OTE phone-tapping affair and the November 17 terrorism investigation. Yesterday, the council also rejected Kroustallakis’s call for a special investigating judge to look into allegations of misconduct by former investigating magistrate Constantina Bourboulia, who headed a probe into the 1999 stock market rally and subsequent crash. It said a regular investigating magistrate should handle the Bourboulia case.