NEWS

In Brief

GANG OF 16

Lawyer of group’s alleged mastermind appears in court The lawyer of Panayiotis Vlastos, the alleged mastermind of the so-called «Gang of 16,» was remanded in custody yesterday. Elisavet Pouliou denied the charge of being a member of a criminal gang and said that excerpts from secretly recorded conversations with her client had been misinterpreted. Pouliou claimed that she was the victim of lies by Vlastos and his wife, who she claimed tried to take advantage of her «humanity and sense of duty.» She also said that her conversations with her client should not be admitted as evidence because they were recorded without her consent. BILDT COMMENTS Athens and Nicosia object Greece and Cyprus yesterday reacted to a comment by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in which he suggested that the military dictatorship in Greece was responsible for instigating the events that led to the occupation of part of Cyprus by Turkish forces. Sweden currently holds the European Union’s six-month rotating presidency. Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said that the junta could not serve as «justification for the invasion and occupation of part of Cyprus for the last 35 years.» Cypriot government spokesman Stephanos Stefanou said that Nicosia hopes Sweden’s presidency will be «objective.» Bomb defused A police bomb-disposal squad deactivated early yesterday an explosive device that had been left outside the entrance to the Chilean Consulate in Thessaloniki. An anonymous caller rang local police to inform officers where the time bomb had been planted. The area was cordoned off and experts were able to disable the device safely. Wife remanded A 52-year-old woman who allegedly admitted to killing her 57-year-old husband last summer before burying the body near his native village in Grevena, northern Greece, with the help of her two children, was remanded in custody yesterday after testifying before an investigating magistrate on murder charges. The woman’s 18-year-old son, who was also questioned, was freed on conditional release. Meanwhile, authorities are awaiting the extradition to Greece of the woman’s 20-year-old daughter from Germany, where the family is based. Siemens probe The former deputy managing director of OTE telecom, Giorgos Skarpelis, is to face an investigating magistrate tomorrow in connection with the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal. He had been released on Tuesday but was remanded in custody within a few hours after a new arrest warrant was issued. Last month Skarpelis demanded complete copies of all the evidence and documents that have been collected as part of the Siemens investigation, some 14 boxes of documents. Clarification In an article published yesterday about the government’s plans to open five migrant reception centers across the country, we noted that City of Athens employees cleaned and decontaminated the premises of the former appeals court on Socratous Street. We would like to clarify that municipal workers cleaned the grounds of the premises, not the interior of the building, which is privately owned.