Panayiotis and Dionysis Psomiadis, brothers who served respectively as prefect and deputy prefect of Thessaloniki, were granted conditional release on Monday and ordered to pay 20,000 euros each in bail after pleading not guilty to corruption charges.
The pair are being accused of granting tenders for two projects pertaining to the re-sodding of soccer pitches, directly and without advertising for competitive bids, a breach of procedure and transparency rules.
Panayiotis Psomiadis defended his decision to award the projects directly, arguing that it was common practice among local authorities and saying that it did not cause any additional burden on state coffers. His brother followed a similar line of defense.
Testifying to the investigating magistrate on behalf of Panayiotis Psomiadis, former New Democracy minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that he “will not abandon people he knows did not steal.”
In 2012, a Thessaloniki appeals court upheld a 12-month jail sentence against Panayiotis Psomiadis, who was suspended from his position as governor of Central Macedonia the previous summer after reducing a fine for local gas station that sold adulterated fuel. In March 2013 he was given a 15-month suspended jail sentence for breach of duty and faith with regard to the protection of Lake Koroneia, near Thessaloniki.