The release of disgraced energy executive Aristeidis Floros under the provisions of a new criminal code introduced by the previous administration, provoked a fierce clash on Tuesday between the government and leftist SYRIZA.
Floros was released by the court hearing his appeal against his conviction for embezzlement and money laundering on the basis of new laws introduced by the outgoing leftist government, which grant embezzlers more lenient treatment.
He had been sentenced in 2017 to 21 years in prison over the Energa scandal, accused of swindling the state out of millions of euros, but had been behind bars since 2014, serving a 13-year sentence for ordering an assassination attempt against Athens lawyer Giorgos Antonopoulos.
Floros’ lawyers argued that their client had served nearly six years in prison which, under the new penal code, qualifies him for early release. Although a prosecutor objected, the court approved the request subject to the client posting bail of 50,000 euro.
Center-right New Democracy decried the decision, referring to the “first negative effects of the new penal code passed unilaterally by SYRIZA.”
Floros is also under investigation over medical documents he presented in order to secure a brief release last year and whose authenticity has been challenged.
SYRIZA, for its part, dismissed ND’s claims that the leftist party is to blame for Floros’ release as “not only groundless but laughable.”
However, the ruling center-right party said that it had “made a commitment to change all the problematic articles of the new criminal code immediately.”
To this end, reports on Tuesday said that the government is intent on suspending the implementation of the new criminal code as it has already created complications in hundreds of court trials.
Having been passed by the previous government at the 11th hour before Parliament was dissolved for national elections, Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras deems the suspension, which will last until September, as necessary for a proper assessment of the problems the new code has already created and an in-depth examination of its provisions.
Furthermore, the government accused the Tsipras administration of ignoring a warning by the union of Greece’s prosecutors that the code, which was voted through without any debate, would create scores of problems and hamper the workings of the justice system.