NEWS

In Brief

SIEMENS PROBE

Ex-OTE official facing bribery charges seeks jail release Former OTE telecom Vice Chairman Giorgos Skarpelis, remanded in custody earlier this week after defending himself against claims that he acted as a middleman in the payment of bribes by Siemens Hellas to politicians, yesterday appealed for his release from jail on grounds of ill health. Skarpelis claims that the charges brought against him are groundless, claiming that he had left OTE at the time that the bribe-taking is alleged to have taken place in 1997. Meanwhile, sources told Kathimerini that former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos, currently in Germany but facing extradition to Greece, is unlikely to face charges of laundering profits from illegal activities. According to Kathimerini’s sources, a Munich prosecutor probing allegations of under-the-table payments by the company to Greek politicians believes that Christoforakos «gave adequate explanations» about the source of cash in accounts for which he had been responsible. SUPERMARKET HEIST Guard shot in Glyfada raid A security guard was shot in the leg during an attempt by two men to rob the Sklavenitis supermarket at the corner of Vouliagmenis Avenue in Glyfada yesterday morning. The would-be robbers struck three staff members with the butts of their guns when they failed to hand over any cash. The two then took off empty-handed on a stolen motorbike. Police who pursued the robbers managed to catch one of the men in Ilioupoli, who was later recognized by supermarket staff. Lesvos fire A large fire that broke out yesterday in Agiassos, central Lesvos, had been brought under control by late yesterday before it could spread to residential areas. The fire, which broke out on forestland shortly before 3 p.m., was fanned by strong winds that hindered the efforts of 25 firefighters manning 12 fire engines and aided by three water-dropping aircraft and a helicopter. Forged tickets Thessaloniki police have arrested four people on charges of selling thousands of forged public transport tickets and municipal parking permits to kiosks in the city. About 49,000 transport tickets were seized out of a total 100,000 made in Bulgaria. Sex trafficking A 39-year-old Greek and an Albanian, 35, have been arrested for allegedly forcing four young women from Romania into prostitution in brothels around central Athens. Four Greek women working as domestic staff in the brothels were also arrested. Police are seeking another Greek and an Albanian, suspected members of the same group, who since February 2008 have been forcing foreign women into prostitution in Athens. Ileia trains The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) has announced a 60 percent reduction in train schedules in the prefecture of Ileia in the Peloponnese. Of the 16 trains, only six will remain in the region, said Antonis Petrakos, head of the Peloponnese Railway Workers Association, as the Patra-Kalamata line was said to be unprofitable. The plan also calls for the closure of train stations in the area.