Bribe inquiry to check judges’ bank accounts

The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the bank accounts of two middle-ranking judges suspected of accepting bribes to be checked and the part played by lawyers and middlemen in any corruption to be investigated. The probe relates to two cases revealed in undercover TV programs during the past two weeks. One court of first instance judge, Tonia Ilia, is being investigated for seeking the release of over 30 drugs suspects whose cases she handled as an examining magistrate. Another judge, Leonidas Stathis, is facing charges of accepting a bribe of 5,000 euros in return for awarding a traffic accident victim damages of 59,000 euros. Both have been suspended pending the investigation. The Supreme Court is also looking into whether any lawyers were involved in the alleged bribery and wants to examine accounts in Emporiki Bank, where it suspects defendants and plaintiffs were depositing bribes in return for favorable court verdicts. Also under suspicion of being a middleman is an archimandrite who has previously been disciplined by the Orthodox Church and charged with stealing ancient artifacts. His name came up in a TV recording in which Ilia appeared to be negotiating the release of a convicted drug dealer in return for money.