NEWS

In Brief

DEFENSE PROBE

Prosecutor brings fraud charges over ‘mismanaged contracts’ An Athens prosecutor yesterday brought fraud charges against unidentified Defense Ministry officials in the previous government who allegedly mismanaged procurement contracts worth more than 7 million euros. The charges focus on two contracts – one issued in 2003 to pay for a ministry support unit and one that ministry officials signed with state munitions manufacturer Pyrkal for the provision of technical knowledge that was never obtained. POWER PROBE PPC denies reports of excessive spending, lack of transparency The Public Power Corporation (PPC) yesterday described as «groundless and untrue» press reports accusing it of spending excessive amounts to accelerate the completion of one of its projects, and of lack of transparency in assigning another project. A prosecutor on Monday ordered a preliminary investigation into the allegations, according to which PPC paid a bonus to speed up works at its Ptolemaida plant whose cost exceeded the original cost of the project, and that it had not adhered to transparency rules in assigning the construction of a new plant in Atherinolakkos on Crete. CHTENAS CONVICTED Kavala robber gets 25 years in jail A Thrace court yesterday passed a 25-year jail sentence on 46-year-old Kavala businessman Andreas Chtenas after finding him guilty of masterminding a twin bank robbery in Eleftheroupolis in October 2002. The court also sentenced Chtenas’s wife Aria, 44, to 17-and-a-half years in jail and his 24-year-old son Dimitrios to 15 years in jail. Four Albanians Chtenas hired to carry out the double heist also received jail sentences, ranging from 25 years to 11 years and eight months. Church war Minister for Macedonia and Thrace Nikos Tsiartsionis yesterday sent messages of congratulations to three new bishops controversially elected on Monday to vacant sees in northern Greece following an initiative by Archbishop Christodoulos. Earlier yesterday, two dissident bishops criticized the appointments made by the archbishop despite Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios’s threats to break communion with him. Ieronomos, Bishop of Thebes, referred to «a barbaric violation of the canonical rights of the Patriarchate» and Theoklitos, Bishop of Ioannina, spoke of «the most severe crisis to date.» The Church’s Holy Synod later yesterday issued a statement, saying its Hierarchy was «absolutely united.» Schinias threat The Athens office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) yesterday warned of the environmental threat posed by the «frenzy of construction» in Schinias and Marathon where the Olympic rowing events are to be held. WWF asked Olympics organizers and government officials to dismantle the bulk of construction after the Olympics and to regenerate part of the wetland. Also yesterday, a Piraeus prosecutor ordered a preliminary investigation into allegations that the Zea marina is being destroyed by private construction – lodged by local residents. Romanian ties President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday met his Romanian counterpart, Ion Iliescu, in Bucharest. Stephanopoulos told Iliescu that Greece would support Romania’s efforts to join the European Union as soon as possible. Migrants detained Coast guards on Crete yesterday detained a group of 47 illegal immigrants, abandoned on a beach near the eastern port of Siteia by a fishing boat believed to be Egyptian, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The immigrants, all men aged between 20 and 35, told authorities they were Palestinian but are believed to hail from Libya, Egypt, the Palestinian territories and other origins, the ministry said. Cypriot arrests Turkish-Cypriot security forces have arrested two Greek Cypriots who allegedly tried to smuggle bullets into occupied northern Cyprus, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday. Stephanos Yiannokou, 31, and Christakis Ioannou, 33, were detained on Sunday after 200 assault rifle bullets were found in the back of their truck during a search at the Nicosia buffer zone, AFP cited police as saying.