NEWS

In Brief

BLACKMAIL TESTIMONY

Mevgal offered ‘reward’ of its own accord, alleged middleman says Wheat merchant Constantinos Constantinidis, an alleged middleman in the Mevgal blackmail case, submitted written testimony to a magistrate yesterday more than a month after corruption claims first surfaced. Constantinidis denied asking for a 2.5-million-euro bribe from the dairy firm so it would not be fined by the Competition Commission. He claimed that the company’s president had offered Constantinidis and the other two men accused of blackmail a financial reward for helping the firm avoid a 25-million-euro fine. Constantinidis refused to testify last month because he wanted authorities to investigate new evidence. COOL RIDES Deal to install air conditioners on ISAP railway set to be signed today An agreement to install air conditioners on all carriages of the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway (ISAP) is due to be signed today but officials have warned that only half of the carriages will be air-conditioned by next summer. The process to carry out the work has been delayed since 2002, leaving passengers to sweat it out during their train journeys in the summer. The deal to install the units in 238 carriages is worth 9.7 million euros to Thermoservice Hellas, the company that is set to take on the contract. SCHOOLBOY CRITICAL Teenager loses hand after accident A 16-year-old schoolboy is in a critical condition in a Thessaloniki hospital, where doctors amputated one of his hands after he was hit by a car, authorities said yesterday. The unnamed boy was one of three secondary school students injured on Saturday after being hit by a speeding car outside their school. The 22-year-old driver injured the three boys, aged 15 and 16, who were taking part in a protest at the school. Witnesses told police that the driver, a foreign national, was traveling at a very high speed when the accident took place. Locals also blamed the accident on the poor quality of the road in front of the school. Bank robbers Police arrested two Albanian nationals, aged 20 and 25, and are looking for three others in connection with 15 armed robberies in Attica since the beginning of the year which netted the gang some 300,000 euros, officers said yesterday. The gang also stole four motorcycles, police said. Truck theft A 19-year-old Gypsy man was arrested in Athens yesterday accused of stealing 29 trucks which were used to move stolen building equipment, police said yesterday. Authorities are also looking for the suspect’s alleged partner, a 29-year-old man believed to have helped him lift copper pipes, wiring and aluminium items from building sites, mostly in the suburbs of western Athens. The pair are also believed to have broken into seven warehouses of building supply companies. GSEE invitation Labor Minister Savvas Tsitouridis yesterday called on Greece’s largest umbrella union, the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), to take part in talks on preparing reforms in the social security system. GSEE has refused to take part in state-held meetings with workers and employers on putting together a proposal for pension system reforms. Onassis awards President Karolos Papoulias will today honor the four winners of the Onassis Foundation International Awards for cultural or environmental achievements. The Onassis Foundation announced late on Monday that the awards, worth 160,000 euros each, will go to Greek theoretical physicist Dimitris Nanopoulos and to the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice, the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University in Boston, and the National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Supporter jailed A fan of the Olympiakos soccer team was taken directly to jail in Thessaloniki yesterday to serve a 10-day sentence after being found guilty of running onto the pitch during an away game against local side Iraklis. Under a recent sports law, the 25-year-old fan’s sentence could not be suspended.