NEWS

Disgraced prosecutor sacked

A deputy prosecutor yesterday became the fourth member of the judiciary to be fired by the Supreme Court in recent weeks, following allegations he was part of a trial-fixing ring which also involved a priest charged yesterday with inheritance fraud. The 52 members of the plenary session of Greece’s highest civil and criminal court voted unanimously to sack deputy appeals court prosecutor Nikos Athanassopoulos for displaying a «lack of moral standards» and gross inefficiency. Three middle-ranking judges were dismissed on identical grounds last month. At least a dozen more judges are up for dismissal before the Supreme Court, while several face trial for criminal offenses that include bribery and money laundering. During proceedings, some Supreme Court members accused Athanassopoulos of being involved in a corrupt ring of judges, including court of first instance judge Antonia Ilia. 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 and is being questioned by the Supreme Court. Athanassopoulos denied the charges, saying Yiossakis was merely an acquaintance and that he had only met Ilia once. Meanwhile, criminal charges of fraud and submitting a false declaration were filed against Yiossakis yesterday by Athens prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis. The priest, who is being held in custody in Korydallos prison, has been charged with illegally appropriating land belonging to the late bishop of Limnos, Panteleimon, and his brothers. Yiossakis denies the charges, claiming he legally inherited the property after helping the bishop, who died in 1988, of old age.