Former transport minister caught with false license plates goes on trial

Former Transport Minister Michalis Liapis was due to stand trial on Thursday on charges of false certification and forgery after he was caught by traffic police driving a car with false license plates.

Liapis was stopped by traffic police in Artemida, eastern Attica, on Tuesday morning for a routine inspection that revealed the license plates of his SUV were forged. He was also driving without a license and could not produce valid insurance.

If convicted, the former conservative minister faces a suspended jail sentence of between six months to five years.

“I made a mistake and I must pay the consequences,” Liapis said after his arrest, adding however that he only took the car out to charge the batteries ahead of a trip to Asia.

New Democracy on Wednesday defended its failure to publicly criticize its former MP and minister by saying that he was no longer a member of the conservative party.

“I hope that he has an adequate explanation,” New Democracy secretary Manos Kefaloyiannis said in an interview with VIMA FM, while adding that Liapis, also a former culture minister, was no longer a party member.

“However, it is something that saddens and hurts us,” he added.

It also emerged on Wednesday that in the wake of Liapis’s arrest, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras asked Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou to draw up legislation that would halt current and retired MPs’ privileges if they are found guilty of offenses that are deemed particularly insulting toward society.

No further details were made available.

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