Watchdog says VIPs protected from probes

The head of the country’s public administration watchdog, Leandros Rakintzis, on Wednesday claimed in a speech before Parliament’s ethics and transparency committee that prominent public figures accused of financial crimes enjoy a type of immunity from prosecution, saying that legislative amendments or judicial rulings are often issued to get them off the hook.

In a speech that basically elaborated on the findings of his report for last year, Rakintzis claimed that certain prominent Greeks received “special treatment” due to the actions of legislators but also those of the judiciary. He referred to “rulings that exempt them from charges” and to “slowness in the dispensation of justice,” adding that courts were “to a great extent inadequate” in imposing the law, particularly in the case of financial crimes.

The watchdog chief also rapped Greek lawmakers, referring to “ad hoc rules-legislative reforms that permit or cover corrupt behavior.” Pressed by MPs to be more specific, Rakintzis referred to a recent law that relieves managers of public utilities of the legal responsibility for their decisions.

“An immunity is being concealed,” he said.

Rakintzis refused to give specific examples of cases of alleged corruption that have been covered up or to name any names.

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