NEWS

In Brief

BUREAUCRAT RELEASED

Ex-Labor Ministry employee linked to bond scandal testifies Evgenios Papadopoulos, a former special secretary of the Labor Ministry implicated in a structured bond scandal that rocked the conservative government in 2007, was released yesterday after testifying before a magistrate investigating the affair. The scandal relates to the alleged sale of a 280-million-euro government bond to pension funds at an inflated price. Papadopoulos denied charges of aiding and abetting a criminal after he allegedly telephoned the former head of a pension fund suggesting that the latter contact staff at the Acropolis brokerage over the inflated commissions they are alleged to have been pocketing. SIEMENS PROBE Committee needs more time The parliamentary investigative committee looking into the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal is likely to ask for more time to continue its probe. The MP chairing the panel, PASOK’s Sifis Valyrakis, said that the committee has approached the Bank of Greece for help in obtaining the bank account details of several bribery suspects and is due to begin questioning PASOK and New Democracy politicians, including former ministers, as of Monday in connection to allegations that Siemens Hellas paid bribes to public officials to secure state contracts. Plant leak Managers at a coal-fired electricity plant near Kozani, northern Greece, and local authorities yesterday stressed that a large leak on the site of ferric chloride, a chemical compound used in industry, did not pose a risk to workers, local residents or the environment. According to the head of the Aghios Dimitrios Plant, Nikos Apostolidis, around 6 tons of the toxic chemical were released in the leak, which was attributed to a disconnected pipe. Prefectural officials said there were no fears of repercussions on the health of local residents. Crossing death A 72-year-old woman was killed instantly after being hit by a train on a level crossing in Argos, in the Peloponnese, on Tuesday evening. There were no reported injuries to the driver or to any of the passengers on the train, which had been en route to Nafplio from Corinth. Doctors suspended Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou yesterday ordered two doctors from different hospitals in Attica to be suspended following their arrest on charges of taking under-the-table payments from patients. No details were revealed about the exact nature of the alleged cases of graft involving the doctors, one employed by the Thriasio hospital in Elefsina and the other by the Asclepeio in Voula. Hidden cameras The Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, yesterday ruled that it is against the law for footage filmed using a hidden camera to be aired on TV. The court has been hearing an appeal by Alpha TV, which was fined 200,000 euros in 2002 after two of its programs showed a former minister entering a betting shop and playing illegal slot machines. The court ruled that it was an infringement of a person’s privacy for images obtained using a hidden camera to be shown in public.