14 more charged for link to trial fixing

An appeals court prosecutor yesterday spread the net wider in an ongoing trial-fixing investigation, lodging charges against 14 individuals, mostly judges, believed to have abused their judicial powers to influence court verdicts and secure personal gain. Following a decision by Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas, prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos brought a string of charges against 10 judges, a prosecutor and three lawyers. The charges include abuse of power, money laundering, avoiding disclosure, perjury and attempting to harbor a criminal. One of the judicial officials facing trial is Eleftherios Patsis, who had been a prosecutor in last year’s trial of alleged members of the left-wing terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA). Several of the judges implicated in the case are believed to have awarded extortionate compensation sums and to have obtained favorable verdicts for specific defendants. One of the judges, who handled a long-running legal dispute between Greek and German meat producers, is alleged to have secured favorable verdicts for the Greek firm. And another appeals court judge is said to have pocketed large compensation settlements from the falsely declared destruction of luxury cars registered in his name; the same judge allegedly purchased a country home and a third car with the compensation money.