Trial-fixing probe to enter second phase

The first round of investigations into a suspected trial-fixing ring made up of judges, churchmen and lawyers came to an end yesterday with the questioning of a middle-ranking judge thought to have been at the heart of the scandal. Following the 11-hour interrogation of court of first instance judge Antonia Ilia, who is suspected of bribe taking, breach of duty and membership of a criminal gang, Deputy Supreme Court Prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas will forward his findings next week to an Athens appeals court prosecutor. The next step is expected to involve criminal charges being brought against a series of suspected ring members. Ilia, who allegedly had close links with the priest thought to have been at the center of the ring, Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, is suspected of having sought bribes to keep drug-trafficking suspects out of jail, when she was still an investigating magistrate.