New Democracy and former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reacted angrily yesterday to an investigating magistrate’s decision to ask the ex-premier’s aide to post bail of 400,000 euros after being questioned in connection to his alleged part in setting up the controversial property exchange between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery. The conservatives suggested that the magistrate’s decision, reached late on Tuesday, to ask Yiannis Angelou for such an unusually large amount in bail was politically motivated and an attempt to cast ND and Karamanlis in a negative light. In a statement, the party said that it was «astonished» by the decision, suggesting that the amount was more appropriate for hardened criminals, or at least a case where there was overwhelming evidence of guilt. «The treatment reserved for Yiannis Angelou breaches the basic rules of law,» said ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos. «It is becoming clear that PASOK is not interested in uncovering the truth or investigating the matter to its conclusion.» The issue also prompted a response from Karamanlis. His political office issued its first statement since ND’s election defeat last October. «The callous and clearly unfair treatment of Yiannis Angelou proves, beyond any doubt, that PASOK and its leader are organizing systematic political persecutions targeting New Democracy and Costas Karamanlis,» the statement said. Angelou denies being the moral instigator of a deal that saw the Mount Athos monastery obtain prime public property in return for land of a lesser value. The government denied that it had influenced the judge’s decision, insisting that the judiciary remained independent.