Judge caught as 11 more face the chop

In the latest twist in the ongoing judicial scandal, a judge was arrested yesterday on suspicion of using a fake traveler’s check, while sources told Kathimerini that up to another five judges could be expelled in addition to the seven already facing disciplinary charges due to trial-fixing allegations. Court of first instance judge Evangelos Kalousis was arrested yesterday afternoon on suspicion of trying to cash a forged traveler’s check at a bank in Athens. Kalousis had already been referred to the Supreme Court over allegations that he was involved in the prostitution of foreign women. Another middle-ranking judge, Leonidas Stathis, who has been accused of accepting bribes, is to face questioning today. Four lawyers who allegedly made suspect deposits into his bank account, will also appear before the Supreme Court. Stathis and Kalousis are among the seven judges already facing disciplinary action. Up to 30 more are expected to be investigated but, following preliminary probes, it is thought likely that five of them will be dismissed from the judiciary at once. The appeals court deputy prosecutor, Nikos Athanassopoulos, gave evidence for five-and-a-half hours yesterday after allegations linking him to a corrupt ring of judges for whom Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis has been accused of acting as a middleman. Athanassopoulos denied the charges, saying Yiossakis was merely an acquaintance and that he had only met Antonia Ilia, a middle-ranking judge facing corruption charges, once. In another development, lawyer Andreas Gavalas yesterday sued Ilia for 1 million euros after she was heard telling a third party, in a taped conversation, that Gavalas could arrange, for a fee, to release a suspected drug dealer from prison. Gavalas denied the allegation but admitted Ilia had been a client of his. Yiossakis, meanwhile, was remanded in custody in Korydallos Prison pending his trial for the alleged theft of Byzantine icons from a Kythera monastery during the 1990s. Police have also launched an internal investigation to establish what relationship Apostolos Vavilis, a convicted drug dealer being hunted by Interpol, had with the force. Vavilis is alleged to have run a shop selling guns and security systems to the police. It is also claimed Archbishop Christodoulos sent him to Jerusalem in 2001 to oversee the election of the Orthodox archbishop there.

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