NEWS

In Brief

SIEMENS PROBE

Prosecutor wants file moved to higher-ranking magistrate A Supreme Court prosecutor yesterday asked for the ongoing investigation into the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal to be transferred from Nikos Zagorianos, the magistrate who has been in charge of the case for the past year, to a higher-ranking appeals court magistrate. According to sources, prosecutor Ioannis Tentes has requested the transfer because of the escalating gravity of the case and concerns about the direction the investigation has taken. Last month, a top German court put the brakes on the extradition of former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos, a key suspect in the probe, who is currently in Germany, as court officials said they wanted to further examine Christoforakos’s appeal against his extradition to Greece. KIDNAPPING TRACED Salesman freed after a month A 40-year-old car salesman, kidnapped about a month ago, has been freed from an apartment in Aghios Dimitrios, southern Athens, according to police, who arrested two of his suspected kidnappers. The suspects are alleged to have been working for a third party who had lent some 80,000 euros to the 40-year-old and was intent on getting the money back. Police said the suspects had made several calls to the victim’s family in Argyroupoli, also in southern Athens, demanding the same sum as ransom. Jewelry raid Unidentified robbers who broke into a jewelry store on Zakynthos early yesterday made off with more than 150,000 euros’ worth of valuables, police on the Ionian island said. The robbers probably broke into the store, in the island’s Alykanas area, around dawn, according to forensic experts inspecting the site. Murder arrests Officers from Thessaloniki’s illegal immigration department have arrested two men in connection with knife attacks and robberies. A 20-year-old man from Kazakhstan has been charged with a knife attack on two customers at a nightclub in Kallikratia, Halkidiki, in June. A 23-year-old Georgian man, allegedly part of a four-man gang, has been detained in connection with five robberies in 2007 at Thessaloniki gas stations and with allegedly threatening the attendants with knives. Free checkups The Social Security Foundation (IKA) is offering its members aged 40 to 55 a full annual checkup as part of a drive to make people aware of preventive medical care, Employment and Social Security Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said. The pilot program is available at the First IKA Hospital in Melissia, the Kallithea and Peristeri IKA centers, in Piraeus at the Aghia Sofia and Drapetsona centers, in Toumba, Thessaloniki, and in Patras. Doctors’ strike State hospital doctors in northern Greece are planning a 48-hour strike for the end of September and sit-ins from October in protest at staff shortages. Christos Papageorgiou, head of the Thessaloniki Hospital Doctors Union, said the city’s hospitals needed 400 more medical staff and that they were at risk of not being able to deal with the new flu pandemic.