MP drawn into judge scandal

Investigating judges may move to lift the immunity from prosecution of a serving MP as part of their probe into corruption in the judiciary as Swiss authorities begin looking into suspect bank accounts held by a former Greek judge, sources told Kathimerini. Two judges have been questioning lawyer Christos Hadzipanayiotou, an associate of parliamentary deputy Petros Mandouvalos, over an alleged 7-million-drachma (20,500 euro) payment he made to Court of First Instance President Evangelos Kalousis in November 2000. Kalousis has been charged with sexual exploitation, bribery and money laundering. According to sources, the two judges have not been satisfied with the answers given by Hadzipanayiotou and could ask Parliament to allow them to go after Mandouvalos, who is also a lawyer. The former New Democracy MP for Piraeus resigned last month after claims about his associate’s alleged payment were made public on television. However, the judges will need to move quickly if they are to bring bribery charges against Mandouvalos due to a five-year statute of limitations. Speaking through his lawyer, Kalousis insisted yesterday that he was innocent of all charges against him and that the investigation into his case had been botched. He added that there was a logical explanation to many of the payments he is alleged to have received, since of the seven lawyers who have allegedly deposited money into his bank account, six were close friends or relatives. Meanwhile, a prosecutor in Switzerland has given the go-ahead for authorities to investigate the bank accounts held there by former judge Constantina Bourboulia. There is currently an international arrest warrant out for Bourboulia, as she has disappeared since being charged in September with abuse of power and money laundering. In June, Bourboulia was sentenced to three years and 10 months in jail for mishandling, between 2000 and 2002, a probe into stock market improprieties and of accepting bribes.

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