Trial fixers to be judged

A group of 24 people that includes lawyers and former judges will shortly be going on trial for fixing court cases, according to the findings of a prosecutor’s investigation into corruption within the judiciary released yesterday. Appeal Court prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos delivered the 900-page report yesterday to the Council of Appeal Court Judges, which will consider its content before putting the suspects on trial. Karoutsos identifies former archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, wanted ex-judge Antonia Ilia and lawyers Sakis Kehayioglou, Giorgos Nikolakopoulos and Nikolas Emmanouilidis as the main players in the alleged trial-fixing ring. The 24 suspects are likely to be charged with a total of 22 offenses, including bribing a judge, issuing false statements, fraud, breach of duty, money laundering and embezzlement. The investigation into the alleged ring began in 2005. In his report Karoutsos says that Yiossakis, Ilia and Kehayioglou formed «the nucleus of the trial-fixing ring, which may not have existed without them.» The prosecutor believes that Yiossakis had a «premeditated plan» to befriend a number of judges so that he could secure favorable judgments and then use his connections to make money. Karoutsos also outlines how Ilia sought to preside over cases being argued by lawyers who were part of the ring so she could rule in favor of their clients. Ilia, who is still at large, worked closely with lawyers Kehayioglou and Nikolakopoulos, according to the investigation, to fix the outcome of trials in return for payment. Other suspects likely to be charged include judges Nikolaos Potamionos, Anna Korovesi, Anastassios Savvas, Anastassia Basta, Nikolaos Athanassopoulos and Panayiota Tsevi. Karoutsos recommended charges be dropped against a further 15 suspects, including judges Giorgos Zois, Georgia Lambro-poulou, Paraskevi Leonto, Olga Darla, Vassiliki Costopoulou, Elisavet Tsirakidou, Eleftheria Roma and Evangelos Kalousis.

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