Lawyer is linked to baby sale

A prosecutor yesterday charged seven people, including a lawyer employed by the Labor Ministry, in connection with the attempted sale of a baby. In an operation which began on Monday, police arrested the suspects in central Athens after a Greek couple from Veria, northern Greece, set up a meeting to buy the 20-day-old baby girl from a Bulgarian woman. The couple allegedly paid the lawyer, Panayiotis Papaleloudis, 9,000 euros to set up the deal. Papaleloudis, who is employed by the General Press Secretariat but had been assigned to the Labor Ministry, denies any wrongdoing. He said he did not realize that he was involved in an illegal process and thought he was helping the couple legally adopt the baby. The Labor Ministry yesterday dispensed with his services. The child’s mother and a Greek man accompanying her were also arrested. Another Bulgarian woman with a baby that police suspect the ring was trying to sell was arrested at a hotel in Pangrati. A Bulgarian man who was with her was also caught.