Judges scrutinized over assets

One in 10 judges has allegedly violated the law on the declaration of assets and will soon face trial but this development is unlikely to have the crippling effect on the justice system that many expect because of the nature of some charges, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Late on Monday, the Supreme Court said that it was charging 25 judges of various ranks with breaking the law on the declaration of assets (pothen esches) by either not submitting the necessary forms or by withholding information. The judges have not been linked to the probe into trial-fixing rings but sources said yesterday that more than 300 judges in total will be hauled before the court to face charges about their declarations. Sources told Kathimerini that some 10 percent of judges have either failed to submit a declaration of assets form at least once or have never submitted a form. This offense is treated as a misdemeanor unless prosecutors can prove that the forms were not submitted because the judges had something to hide. The Supreme Court is gradually cross-referencing declarations with the contents of judges’ bank accounts and checking entries with the land registry to see if there are any assets not being declared. This probe could potentially have a devastating effect on the justice system with judges being taken out of action and unheard cases piling up but senior judicial authorities assured Kathimerini yesterday that this will not be the case. In cases where the lack of a declaration is proved to just have been a matter of oversight, the law dictates that the judges not be suspended, sources said. Meanwhile, Parliament is due to decide today whether to lift the immunity from prosecution of independent MP Petros Mandouvalos. The Piraeus deputy has been linked to an allegedly corrupt judge after claims that one of his associates paid money into his account. Mandouvalos wrote to all 300 MPs yesterday asking them to vote in favor of the motion so he could defend himself in court.

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