Church land sale probed

Prosecutors on Tuesday issued charges against persons unknown in connection to the sale of prime property belonging to the Church of Greece in the coastal suburb of Vouliagmeni, southern Athens. The case involves a 4,000-square-meter plot that was sold to a local municipality employee and his mother in June 2009 for the amount of 14 million euros. Investigations have revealed that Stavros Politopoulos, a street cleaner for the Vouliagmeni Municipality, and his mother, Panayiota Politopoulou, paid the Church the amount in checks and the next day resold the property for 15.5 million euros to three offshore companies. It appears that the firms countersigned the same checks used by Politopoulos to buy the land from the Church in order to make the purchase. Archbishop Ieronymos has denied any knowledge of the sale, which was approved by the Holy Synod on April 2009, when he was serving as president.