Head of children’s hospital testifies as evidence mounts

The head of a children’s hospital in Athens arrested on Christmas Eve on suspicion of demanding a 25,000-euro bribe from a supplier will face a magistrate on Saturday evening after he was given extra time to prepare his defense. He is facing charges of blackmail and bribe taking.

A 40-year-old alleged accomplice will also testify Saturday.

Meanwhile, after being ousted from the ruling New Democracy party, Haris Tombouloglou was on Friday booted from the chair of the Aglaia Kyriakou hospital’s board of directors. Earlier, the 55-year-old was also fired from National Bank, where he had worked since 1978.

Speaking to journalists as he came out of the magistrate’s office on Friday, Tombouloglou, who denies the allegations, said that “the truth will shine.”

However, according to a recorded conversation with the alleged intermediary that emerged on Friday, Tombouloglou was reported as saying: “What kind of an idiot would I be to have made a 190,000-euro deal and not kept a cent for myself?” He could also be heard threatening to cancel a tender for a program to combat child obesity that the private firm won in early 2013, if he did not get the money.

In comments made on Friday about the case, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis ruled out Tombouloglou’s claim that the money was in fact received as a charitable donation.

“For a donation to take place, it must first be approved by the board… There is no such thing as an oral deal made in a cafeteria,” the conservative minister said.

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