Judges being bullied, Supreme Court chief claims

Judges being bullied, Supreme Court chief claims

Supreme Court President Vasiliki Thanou denounced on Monday what she said were concerted and “methodical efforts” by third parties on behalf of those implicated in corruption cases to slander and intimidate judicial officials.

Speaking at an event marking the 21st anniversary of the National School of Judges, Thanou insisted that judges will not be intimidated or dissuaded from performing their duties.

“Recently, at a time when Greek judges and prosecutors have intensified their efforts to investigate and penalize corruption, we have seen efforts [by third parties] on behalf of those implicated to methodically slander and intimidate prosecutors and even the highest-ranking judges,” said Thanou, who also served briefly as the country’s first female prime minister, leading Greece’s interim government up until last September’s elections.

Thanou’s remarks follow legal action against her earlier in the month by the chairman of Marfin Investment Group (MIG), Andreas Vgenopoulos, who claims she bribed judicial officials, attempted blackmail and used her position to influence the legal proceedings regarding the extradition to Cyprus of two of his associates and former board members of the now defunct Laiki Bank.

In April she was forced to step down as the head of inquiry into Vgenopoulos’s role in the collapse of Laiki Bank in Cyprus, after appeal court prosecutor Georgia Tsatani, who is under scrutiny for her handling of the Vgenopoulos case, alleged she was using her influence in the case.

But Thanou appeared unfazed on Monday, citing a passage from Plato’s Republic which states that “the worst form of corruption’s arrogance is when the unjust slanders the just.”

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