Anavyssos villa plot thickens

Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis yesterday accused a former ministry official, who killed herself nine days ago in the aftermath of a controversial operation to knock down illegal sections of seaside Attica villas, of having broken the law in rescinding demolition orders. «To tell the unvarnished truth, Roubini Stathea illegally stopped the demolitions,» Fotiadis said. A judicial investigation is under way regarding the stay of execution for demolition orders regarding illegally built structures – mainly walls of villas belonging to wealthy businessmen – in coastal parts of Attica, and the circumstances of Stathea’s suicide. Two weeks ago, Attica regional authorities started out to demolish garden walls belonging to four coastal villas at Anavyssos, some 40 kilometers south of Athens. Following the intervention of Stathea, acting on behalf of the Finance Ministry’s real estate department, the demolition orders were suspended. Top government officials intervened after the ensuing public outcry, and Stathea rescinded the suspension orders. She jumped off a cliff in southern Attica on October 12, leaving behind seven letters that have done little to shed light on what prompted her suicide. The last letter made public was to Fotiadis’s special adviser, Dimitra Tryfonopoulou, whom Stathea urged «not to feel guilty… as it was my choice not to speak to Mr Fotiadis.» Yesterday, Fotiadis gave Tryfonopoulou compulsory leave pending the investigation. He said ministry officials had discussed the Anavyssos demolitions and agreed that in only one case was Stathea justified in ordering a stay of execution. Meanwhile, Attica regional authority head Michalis Kyriakidis, reportedly testified yesterday that Stathea had «implored» him to stop the Anavyssos demolitions.