Vatopedi issue divides House

Greece’s top prosecutor yesterday defended his decision to prevent Parliament from examining the case file from the Vatopedi Monastery investigation for a second time, after PASOK asked the House speaker to intervene so that MPs could decide whether the land-swap scandal should be probed any further. In a statement, Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas said that the two judicial officials that had been investigating the case did not find any new evidence pointing to the involvement of a politician which would have required Parliament to reassess the case. «This is clear from the fact that the prosecutors who carried out the investigation have made no reference to ministerial responsibility in their reports,» said Sanidas. PASOK, however, was not satisfied with the prosecutor’s explanations, suspecting that the case has been prevented from reaching Parliament again because it could have damaging implications for the government. The Socialists asked Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas to intervene but the latter informed PASOK that he did not have the authority to demand the case file. The matter of whether government officials, including ministers, acted improperly in setting up a potentially damaging land exchange with the monastery was put before Parliament last year but went no further than an initial probe. However, PASOK is convinced that there is new evidence and that MPs should carry out a preliminary judicial investigation. «PASOK is proving itself to be a party that attempts to influence and bully the justice system,» said Justice Minister Nikos Dendias. «It is adopting a dangerous tactic; dangerous for itself, dangerous for the political system, dangerous for democracy and dangerous for society.»

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