Illegal building probe expands

An Athens prosecutor ordered a broader investigation yesterday into a controversial Attica regional authority drive last week to demolish illegally built sections of seaside villas. Meanwhile, a Finance Ministry official, who had been at the heart of the controversy and subsequently killed herself, was buried in Athens yesterday. Rubini Stathea had countermanded a regional authority demolition order regarding the wall of a villa in Anavyssos, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Athens, only to rescind her decision a couple of days later under government pressure. She committed suicide on Sunday. At the Athens funeral yesterday, her husband accused the press and regional authority officials of having hounded Stathea, and called on Prime Minister Costas Simitis to help clear her name. The more wide-ranging probe ordered yesterday will look into whether Stathea’s department or other civil service branches had broken the law by issuing decisions halting demolition of illegal buildings in other parts of Attica.