NEWS

In Brief

ILLEGAL CONSTRUCTION

Parliament receives report on delayed demolitions, which cost a life A Supreme Court prosecutor yesterday sent to Parliament the results of an investigation regarding the non-execution of scheduled demolitions of illegally built properties, which led 53-year-old Finance Ministry employee Rubini Stathea to commit suicide last October. The investigation, which aims to attribute blame for violation of duty, has focused on former Deputy Economy Minister Apostolos Fotiadis, the ministry’s former general secretary, and ministry employees alleged to have stopped demolition orders. Stathea, assistant director of the State Property Service for Eastern Attica, killed herself in October after being criticized for delays in scheduled demolitions. BOURSE FIDDLE Charges brought over alleged DEKA stock manipulation An Athens prosecutor yesterday brought charges of breach of faith against all those implicated in the alleged bolstering of the Athens Stock Exchange by the Public Securities Company (DEKA) before the 2000 general elections. The DEKA file was sent to Parliament after a prosecutor’s probe attributed responsibility to unnamed politicians, ostensibly linked to DEKA’s alleged purchase of shares in large state firms. But, according to a new law regarding the legal responsibilities of ministers, any crimes committed by politicians before April 9, 2000 – the date of the elections – are to be written off. TAX SCAM Probe into 10 firms The Economy Ministry’s Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) yesterday supplied an Athens prosecutor with material allegedly implicating 10 private enterprises and state bodies in a tax evasion racket which ostensibly relieved participants of more than 117 million euros in tax payments. The racket is believed to have worked by its participants issuing bogus receipts to each other. GMO crops The Agricultural Development and Food Ministry has told farmers in Drama to destroy more than 100 hectares of genetically modified corn discovered in the northern prefecture. The farmers, who claim that they bought the seeds from the US plant genetics supplier Pioneer Hi-Breed International, plan to seek compensation for the crops they are obliged to destroy. Ministry officials are investigating whether seeds from the same company have been sown elsewhere. Flag switch Greek former world champion javelin-thrower Sofia Sakorafa does not need the approval of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to represent Palestine in the Athens Olympics as long as she qualifies as an athlete, Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli said yesterday. The IOC did not discuss Sakorafa’s appeal to compete for Palestine yesterday, Felli said. «If she hasn’t taken part in a competition for Greece for three years, then she doesn’t need our executive board’s decision. But she would still need to qualify on the sporting side,» Felli added. AEK rejection Greek soccer star Demis Nikolaidis, who plays for Atletico de Madrid, yesterday called off a bid to buy his former club, AEK Athens, after players of the first-division club rejected a plea to write off outstanding payments they are owed. Nikolaidis, 30, moved to the Madrid club this season after eight years at AEK. Tilos protection Deputy Agricultural Development and Food Minister Evangelos Bassiakos yesterday approved the release of 824,000 euros for an environmental protection program for the island of Tilos, situated between Kos and Rhodes in the Dodecanese. The EU-backed program foresees the protection of birds and the planting of trees, as well as the observation of endangered species. Lift death A 32-year-old police officer, who was found dead in the elevator of his apartment block in Exarchia, central Athens, on Monday night, apparently shot himself. Officers discovered the body of the unnamed officer next to his service handgun after neighbors called them to the block on Ippocratous Street. The officer, who had been employed at the local police station, was in uniform.