NEWS

High roller bureaucrat on trial

A former municipal employee in northeastern Greece, accused of misappropriating over 850,000 euros worth of public funds in 1999 and losing it gambling, is due to appear in Komotini criminal court on Monday, court sources said yesterday. The accused, whose name has only been given as Athanassios M., has been charged with taking 300 million drachmas (880,410 euros) from the coffers of the Municipality of Orestiada, which borders Turkey. Sources say the accused worked in the municipality’s accounts department and that the loss was discovered when employees went to collect their pay, only to be told by Athanassios M. that there was no money available. The accused is said to have confessed to then Mayor Angelos Papaioannou that he lost the money gambling. The mayor suspended him and launched an investigation before referring the case to the prosecutor and police. The money in question had been set aside, among others, for employee wages and operating costs at local schools, sources say. The former mayor and municipal employees will give evidence at the trial.