NEWS

In Brief

SIEMENS SCANDAL

Only bribery suspect in custody released on bail The only person still in custody in connection to the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal, Prodromos Mavridis, was released on bail yesterday. Magistrate Maria Nikolakea ordered the former telecommunications manager at the Greek branch of the German electronics and engineering giant to post 150,000 euros in bail, banned him from leaving the country and told him that he would have to visit his local police station at regular intervals. Mavridis was remanded in custody in May after being accused of bribery and money laundering. Mavridis and former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos are alleged to have been behind the creation of a slush fund, which, allegedly with the blessing of the German parent company, they used to pay off politicians and public officials to secure lucrative state contracts. Mavridis denies the charges. DEADLY WRECK Immigrant drowns off Lesvos Coast guard officials on Lesvos yesterday recovered the body of a drowned immigrant and rescued another 26 migrants after the fishing boat in which they had been trying to reach the Aegean island from neighboring Turkey foundered amid choppy waters. A coast guard vessel was yesterday scouring the area where the boat sank for signs of another female migrant who is believed to be missing. Flu fatalities Health authorities yesterday reported the deaths of another four patients with swine flu, bringing the total number of fatalities in Greece to 44. The four new victims included a 6-year-old girl who had been suffering from a serious underlying ailment, as has been the case with the majority of those who have died after contracting the H1N1 virus in Greece. Since November 16, when the government launched its inoculation program, more than 290,000 people have received the anti-swine flu vaccine. Trial-fixing ring Former New Democracy MP Petros Mantouvalos yesterday refuted criminal charges that have been brought against him in connection to a trial-fixing ring. Addressing the Athens court that has been hearing the case, which implicates a former judge and several lawyers, Mantouvalos, also a lawyer, complained that he had been unjustly drawn into the trial-fixing allegations, noting that the affair had destroyed his political career. Mantouvalos, who had been the ND MP for Piraeus but was suspended from the party in October 2005 when corruption allegations first surfaced, faces charges of bribing a judge, abuse of power and money laundering. Double heist Police in the Peloponnesian prefecture of the Argolid were yesterday seeking a group of three men who raided a bank branch and a post office in the small town of Lygourio. The masked assailants, who were armed but caused no injuries, netted some 15,000 euros in the raids on the stores that are adjacent to each other. According to witnesses, the perpetrators fled in a Fiat Punto with the license plate IHM 6875 which has been reported stolen in Athens.