Share probe to be widened

A new investigation launched this week into the alleged manipulation of stocks in the days of the bubble on the Athens Stock Exchange between 1999 and 2000 will likely lead to a retrial of members of the Public Portfolio Management Company (DEKA), sources told Kathimerini yesterday. The former DEKA chairman and six ex-board members were cleared in December of breaching the state’s faith after an appeals court ruled that DEKA was independent from the state. But judicial sources indicated that the judgment may be overturned and a new trial could be held. «When it [the court’s reasoning] is written up properly, it will be studied in detail,» said Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos, who has the power to reverse the decision, when he was asked yesterday about the possibility of the decision being overturned. During March 2000, DEKA went on a buying spree, boosting the troubled stock market before the April 9 general elections, which PASOK won. After that election, share values dropped and DEKA sustained losses of some 244 billion drachmas (717 million euros). Hundred of thousands of investors lost money in the stock bubble between 1999 and 2000. Although some probes into share manipulation were held soon afterward, prosecutors now seem determined to reopen cases they believe were not properly examined. It is thought that some 50 businesspeople, stockbrokers and bank employees will be investigated as part of the latest probe. «We all have to let the independent judiciary do its job,» said Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras. «I can assure you that the law will not make any exceptions.» Prosecutors are also anxious for the return of former judge Constantina Bourboulia. Bourboulia was found to have mishandled an investigation into several alleged stock market scandals and was given a suspended jail sentence but later fled the country. A court in Paris is due to rule today on Greece’s request to have Bourboulia extradited. Greek authorities also want to open the former judge’s Swiss bank accounts in the hope they might reveal if she was bribed by people she was supposed to be investigating.

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