Postponement of Siemens trial irks government

Postponement of Siemens trial irks government

The decision by an Athens court Tuesday to indefinitely postpone the trial of dozens of suspects in the Siemens bribes-for-contracts scandal sparked a strong reaction from the leftist-led government, with unidentified officials complaining of foul play.

The court decided to adjourn the proceedings because the indictment ruling had not been translated into French and German for the one French-Swiss and 13 German defendants in the case.

Repeated delays in the trial have fueled fears that some of the offenses could expire under the statute of limitations.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official close to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Kathimerini that “some are pushing to have the offenses expire under the statute of limitations.”

“We shall find who is responsible for this,” the source said.

In a statement Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry’s translation service rejected allegations that the indictment had not been translated on time as “false and unfounded.”

“Despite the huge workload, [the service] has completed on time the massive, 1,580-page translation project and delivered the indictment ruling on time to the appeals prosecutor,” the ministry said in a statement, while calling for sanctions against those “misinforming” the public.

The appeals prosecutor confirmed that the trial was postponed due to delays in translating the document and making it available to the defendants. According to judicial experts, defendants have to receive the text at least a month before the trial.

Kathimerini understands that appeals prosecutor Ioannis Provataris had sent four memos to the Foreign Ministry (the first on April 8, 2015 and the final one on April 27, 2016) urging officials to speed up the translation procedure.

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