NEWS

Wait for Siemens ruling ups tension

Opinion was divided yesterday about when the key suspect in the Siemens bribery case, Michalis Christoforakos, might be extradited to Greece, as the government criticized PASOK for writing to his lawyer to request the handing over of evidence. A decision by Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court on Monday, to suspend the ex-Siemens Hellas CEO’s return to Greece due to an appeal by his legal team who argued that he is not guaranteed a fair trial in Athens, has caused frustration in the hierarchy of the Greek judiciary. Some officials are hopeful that the top German appeals court will not spend too long examining the details of the case and will decide next week whether to hear the appeal or whether to allow Christoforakos’s extradition to proceed. However, other officials believe that the process could take between three and nine months. Christoforakos is basing his appeal on two main elements. Firstly, that magistrate Nikos Zagorianos has not allowed two defendants in the case full access to documents, thereby suggesting that the ex-CEO will not receive a fair trial and, secondly, that as a holder of a German passport, he should only stand trial in Germany. His possible return is likely to have a major impact on Greece’s political scene. New Democracy yesterday accused PASOK of «initiating dialogue with a suspect» after the Socialists wrote to Christoforakos’s lawyer, Stefan Kursawe, to ask him to provide the party with any evidence that he has that PASOK officials accepted bribes from the ex-CEO. «If PASOK wants to cover its guilt via correspondence or if it thinks that by adopting this tactic it is fooling anyone, it is mistaken,» said ND secretary Lefteris Zagoritis.