Trial-fixing judges sent to jail

Two former judges were handed long jail sentences yesterday while another five people received suspended terms and two more were acquitted in one of Greece’s largest ever trial-fixing cases. Ex-justices Constantina Bourboulia and Evangelos Kalousis were sentenced to 12 years and 20 years and two months in jail respectively for being members of a ring that fixed trials for financial reward. The court also ordered the confiscation of Bourboulia’s house in the northern Athens suburb of Nea Erythraia as it was bought with money from illegal activities. Both judges were found to have handled cases involving businessman Sotiris Kritikos, to whom they had given preferential treatment. Bourboulia and Kalousis were also found to have gone on a trip on Kritikos’s yacht. Kalousis was found guilty of taking bribes, money-laundering, abuse of power, breach of duty and attempted extortion. Bourboulia was convicted of money laundering and attempted abuse of power. Lawyer Sakis Kehayiouglou, who prior to being remanded had maintained a high profile with regular TV appearances, was given a six-year jail term. Bourboulia’s former husband, Thomas Amorgianos, businessmen Stratos Valyrakis and Antonis Georgiou as well as Kritikos also received prison terms. However, their sentences, as well as Kehayioglou’s, were suspended pending their appeal. Lawyer Giorgos Nikolakopoulos and skipper Vaios Evangelopoulos were acquitted. The trial-fixing ring was first uncovered in late 2004 and the court case that was concluded yesterday lasted nine months. A former court of first instance judge, Kalousis was arrested in February 2005 on suspicion of trying to cash a forged traveler’s check at a bank in Athens. He has been in custody ever since. Bourboulia was arrested in Paris in January 2006 after spending four months on the run from Greek authorities. The former judge was extradited and returned to Athens two months later, when she was placed in custody.