Siemens judge faces accusations over probe

The magistrate who has been heading the investigation into the Siemens bribery scandal since last year yesterday became the subject of a probe himself, after the Supreme Court decided that Nikos Zagorianos should answer disciplinary charges that include dereliction of duty and abuse of power. Zagorianos is to answer to charges after Supreme Court Vice President Yiannis Papanikolaou, who has the task of inspecting the country’s courts, concluded his own investigation into how the prosecutor handled the Siemens probe. Apart from deciding that Zagorianos should face a disciplinary hearing, Papanikolaou also sent his findings to the Athens appeals court prosecutor’s office, asking officials there to examine whether the magistrate should face criminal charges as well. Zagorianos, who denies any wrongdoing, has been accused of breach of duty by not giving the entire case file to several suspects implicated in the bribery scandal. The magistrate insists that any documents they did not receive were unrelated to their specific cases. The magistrate jailed two suspects despite their protestations that their lawyers did not have full access to the case documents – only for a council of judges to order their release a few days later. Zagorianos will also have to explain why he did not issue arrest warrants for former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos and executive Christos Karavelas before they both fled the country. Papanikolaou has also accused the magistrate of not properly investigating allegations that bribes were paid by Siemens to public officials and political parties after 2004.