Minister steps in on ASE case

Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras yesterday leaned on Greece’s top prosecutor to appeal against a judicial decision to drop criminal charges against Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) officials accused of misconduct in the 1999 market crash. A ministry announcement said Papaligouras invited Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos to his office and «discussed with him the prospect of appealing» against the decision, made public last Saturday, by the Council of Athens Misdemeanors Court Judges. It said Linos «announced that he will swiftly table the appeal.» The charges, against former members of the ASE board, the Capital Market Commission and two top officials in the Altec IT company, were dropped due to insufficient evidence and expiry of the statute of limitations. New Democracy had made the 1999 stock bubble, and subsequent crash, a major political rallying call. Opposition PASOK yesterday accused Papaligouras of tampering with the course of justice.