Former Agrex official is sent back to prison

The former London head of a scandal-ridden state company for the promotion of Greek agricultural products will return to prison to complete a 6-year embezzlement sentence, following a Supreme Court decision made public yesterday. The court threw out an appeal by Zoi Ipsilandi, the former head of Agrex SA’s London bureau, against her conviction in 2000 for stealing $285,000 from company funds in the 1980s. Ipsilandi, who was arrested in London in 1986 but was cleared of other embezzlement charges by a British court, served 387 days in pretrial detention but was released pending her appeal. Agrex was at the center of the 1987 scandal involving the exportation, at Brussels-subsidized rates, of Yugoslavian corn that was passed off as Greek. This dream city for opera-goers owes this affluence to its previous division and to the Wall. The palatial Staatsoper at the Unter den Linden, founded in 1742 by the Prussian monarchy, was considered by the East as propaganda worthy of generous subsidies. I still remember the days when the auditorium was full with uniformed allies – including the Greeks who maintained a Military Mission in Berlin up to the ’70s. At the time opera audiences, even in the poor East, dressed up to do justice to the chandeliers and the – Russian – champagne in the crash bar. Second there is the Komische Oper, which was created in 1947 and still performs only in German. Third is the Deutsche Oper, in the West, built in what in the early ’60s was considered as modern architecture.