NEWS

In Brief

TAINTED BLOOD

Prosecutor due to open inquiry into how girl got HIV from transfusion A prosecutor in Thessaloniki will today begin questioning people about the circumstances that led to a 17-year-old girl contracting HIV from a transfusion of infected blood. The director of the city’s Ippocrateio Hospital is among those expected to give evidence today. The 38-year-old man who donated the infected blood is due to answer the prosecutor’s questions tomorrow. Authorities said that there were no other current cases in which patients had contracted HIV from blood transfusions apart from the 17-year-old girl and a 76-year-old man. CHILD RING Solicitor implicated in selling baby is bailed; link to police revealed A 40-year-old lawyer who previously worked for the Labor Ministry was ordered to pay bail of 15,000 euros yesterday after appearing before a magistrate in connection with an alleged attempt to sell a baby. It also emerged that Panayiotis Papaleloudis has worked since 1994 as a teacher at the Greek Police (ELAS) officers’ college. ELAS fired him yesterday. Four other suspects alleged to be members of the baby-selling ring were remanded in custody and two more are due to face the magistrate today. FUEL STRIKE Gas stations closed for 48 hours Gas station owners are beginning a two-day strike today and said yesterday that they may extend it indefinitely. They are protesting that the government is not doing enough to tackle the illegal fuel trade and are demanding that stricter checks be introduced to prevent petrol from being diluted. Spent energy Greenpeace yesterday called on Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas to withdraw his draft law on renewable energy, which it described as the «tombstone for clean energy in Greece.» Sioufas unveiled the bill on Tuesday but the environmental group complained yesterday that he had ignored all the comments of parties interested in promoting renewable energy. Greenpeace argued that the bill would make electric power cheaper, would not introduce any tax incentives for renewable energy and extended the time needed for a permit to be issued to a renewable energy provider. Bourboulia case An appeals court yesterday decided to drop charges of not submitting a declaration of assets (pothen esches) against former investigating magistrate Constantina Bourboulia. The court based its ruling on a recently passed law which aims to speed up proceedings in the justice system. Bourboulia had faced up to six months in jail for the offense. She is currently in custody awaiting trial in connection with alleged trial-fixing. TV trial A prosecutor in Thessaloniki yesterday recommended that TV station owner Vassilis Christidis, and eight associates, be found guilty of fraud. He said the nine defendants had colluded to defraud more than 117,000 viewers who called his station’s premium rate 090 quiz lines to win prizes. The prosecutor said that callers did not actually have any chance to win the prizes and were, instead, kept hanging on the line for a long time. The callers who made it through were the friends and family of the nine suspects, the court heard. Bank explosion A homemade explosive device went off outside a branch of Eurobank in Halandri, northern Athens, early yesterday causing minor damage, police said. No one was hurt in the attack. In a separate incident at around 3 p.m. yesterday, two armed men drove a car into the front of a National Bank in Halandri, smashing the window. They then made away with an unknown amount of cash. There were no immediate reports of injuries. Fraud suspect Police are searching for a 30-year-old man in Thessaloniki accused of conning a businessman out of about 36,000 euros by promising to help him obtain a construction loan. The suspect allegedly obtained 18,000 euros in cash and another 17,482 euros’ worth of mobile phones from the businessman, aged 32, who deals in telecoms goods, police said yesterday.