Investigation launched into contracts awarded by prefect Thessaloniki prosecutor Evangelos Bakelos yesterday ordered an investigation into hundreds of contracts awarded by the city’s prefecture while Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis has been in office. Newspaper reports have accused Psomiadis, an outspoken member of New Democracy, of awarding more than 500 contracts each worth 45,000 euros or less directly to companies or individuals without holding a tender process first. Several members of the prefecture’s council have also accused Psomiadis, who came third in ND’s leadership contest last November, of corruption. Reds’ soccer loss Olympiakos beaten 2-0 by Aris Olympiakos suffered a 2-0 loss to Aris last night for the opening round of the soccer playoffs, allowing PAOK, which drew 0-0 at AEK, to join it at the top spot of the mini-table that leads to the Champions League qualifiers next season. Property holdup The government’s plans to launch a new process to register illegally altered parts of homes may have to be changed, it emerged yesterday. A new law would allow homeowners as of tomorrow to begin submitting to their local town-planning offices paperwork to pay a penalty to protect them from any further fees for the next 40 years. The government had pledged to use the penalty money to fund the creation of more green spaces. However, sources said that officials from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission have asked that this money be used to help reduce Greece’s public deficit. Such a move may scupper the legislation, since the Constitutional Court approved the bill only based on the creation of the Green Fund. Otherwise, even the temporary legalization of an illegal construction is deemed unconstitutional. Fugitive caught A 42-year-old fugitive, who had been serving a jail sentence at Grevena Prison in northern Greece for 11 supermarket robberies and three raids on branches of the Hellenic Post (ELTA), has been arrested, police in Aegaleo, western Athens, said yesterday. The 42-year-old, who had been at large since March 19 when he failed to return to the Grevena jail after an 11-day furlough, had conducted a string of armed raids in Attica in the space of one month. Athens works Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas and Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis yesterday agreed on the need for a series of infrastructure projects for the capital, with a particular focus on the run-down central district of Votanikos and Alexandras Avenue. The two men, as well as several deputy ministers and general secretaries from other ministries, also agreed to create bicycle lanes, build underground car parks and recorganize the city’s bus routes. Radio silence Radio programs will be disrupted throughout today due to a 48-hour strike by technicians which began yesterday. They are protesting the firing of one of their colleagues and the failure by employers to sign a collective wage contract.