Top judge defiant as probe looms

Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras yesterday called upon Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos to investigate corruption allegations against the court’s vice president, Achilleas Zisis, as a sixth middle-ranking judge was dismissed on sexual exploitation and other charges. On leaving talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Papaligouras pledged «a purging (of corruption) without exception, without distinctions, that will go as deep and as high as it needs to.» Zisis faces a disciplinary investigation following allegations that he allowed a businessman who was on the run from justice to pay for the building materials used for the construction of his holiday home in Crete. Zisis, who is also the president of the Union of Judges and Prosecutors, yesterday refuted the allegations as «falsehoods… and wretched defamations» and said he welcomed the probe so he could clear his name. He also criticized the government for being selective with its probes, noting that alleged irregularities in changes to last year’s election results had not been investigated. The allegations against Zisis were published in the daily Apogevmatini, on the basis of testimony by a contractor who claimed to have seen businessman Constantinos Avramidis paying for the building materials for Zisis’s Cretan home. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court dismissed court of first instance judge Evangelos Kalousis after he defended himself on charges of sexual exploitation as well as bribery and money laundering. «If there is even one woman who I have sexually exploited, I will jump off the roof,» Kalousis said in his defense. The court was unconvinced, ruling that Kalousis can no longer practice law or work in the broader public sector. Also yesterday, witnesses testified before a court hearing the trial of former court of first instance judge Constantina Bourboulia who is charged with mishandling an investigation into stock market irregularities and accepting bribes.

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