Vatopedi land swap charges to be brought

Two magistrates have finished questioning more than 40 witnesses in connection with the Vatopedi land swap, one of several corruption scandals that precipitated the downfall of the previous New Democracy government, and are ready to level charges against more than 30 people including some politicians, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. The investigation by magistrates Irini Kalou and Nikitas Christopoulos has reportedly produced a bulky case file that includes photographs of the title deeds of properties belonging to the Vatopedi Monastery which is alleged to have benefited in a land swap with the state that cost taxpayers around 100 million euros. The magistrates, who in May brought charges against «all persons responsible,» are now due to start bringing these charges against specific individuals whose identities remain unclear but are believed to include certain prominent notaries. The charges include six felonies – breach of faith to the detriment of the state, joint breach of faith to the detriment of the state, making false declarations to the detriment of the state, money laundering and instigation of these acts or direct involvement in them – and three misdemeanors, namely breach of duty, illegal transfer of property rights attaching to a monument and violation of building regulations. According to sources, charges will also be brought against certain politicians even though their alleged misdeeds are subject to the statute of limitations. Judicial sources told Kathimerini that charges would be lodged against these politicians as a matter of principle «to show that they too would have faced trial if their alleged misdeeds had not been prescribed.»