Lawyers in bribes case spotlight

Judicial authorities are examining whether a greater number of lawyers than previously thought, and at least seven other people, were involved in the alleged bribery of a middle-ranking judge, court sources said yesterday. Court of First Instance president Leonidas Stathis was suspended last month by the Supreme Court for displaying a «lack of moral standards» and gross inefficiency. He has yet to face criminal charges of bribery and money laundering and yesterday had his hearing postponed until May 25. However, the evidence gathered by prosecutors, after probes into several private bank accounts, indicates that Stathis allegedly received some 160,000 euros in deposits from 17 lawyers and seven other people currently under investigation. Stathis has been accused of accepting the money from the lawyers in return for issuing favorable decisions for their clients. He faces up to 20 years in jail. Meanwhile, court of first instance judge Antonia Ilia is to continue her testimony before the Supreme Court tomorrow over allegations that she was involved in a trial-fixing ring.