NEWS

In Brief

MANTELIS QUESTIONED

Ex-minister walks free for now over Siemens bribery charges Former Transport Minister Tasos Mantelis was not held in custody yesterday after being questioned by a magistrate in connection to his admission that he accepted money from Siemens Hellas while in office. Mantelis denied charges that the money was a bribe for approving a state contract with Siemens and insisted instead that it was a campaign donation. The magistrate and prosecutor disagreed over whether Mantelis should be remanded in custody. The magistrate overruled the prosecutor and released Mantelis on 200,000 euros’ bail. SPETSES WEDDING Princely fine for organizer The Prefecture of Piraeus, which also oversees the island of Spetses, yesterday slapped a 296,000-euro fine on the owner of the plot of land where Nikolaos, the second son of Greece’s former king Constantine, married his bride, Tatiana Blatnik, last week. The prefecture deemed that a 300-square-meter wooden pavilion erected for the wedding did not have the necessary permit. Angelou bail Appeals court prosecutor Maria Malouchou yesterday recommended to a council of judges that the bail for ex-Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s aide, Yiannis Angelou, be set at 100,000 euros. Angelou has been implicated in an allegedly corrupt real estate exchange with the Vatopedi Monastery but denies playing a central role in the affair. His bail has already been reduced from 400,000 euros to 300,000. College row The Education Ministry yesterday asked police to shut down the American University of Athens (AUA) in Neo Psychico and remove all signs from its building after judging that it does not have a license to operate as a tertiary education institution and is breaking the law by promoting itself as a university. In response, the AUA said that it has not applied for a license in Greece because it is registered in the USA. Car thieves An inmate at Malandrino Prison in Fokida, central Greece, was the mastermind of a gang that stole cars in Athens and then blackmailed their owners into paying cash for the vehicles to be returned. Police said yesterday that they arrested three men, aged 23, 24 and 38, in the northern Athens suburb of Nea Erythraia who are suspected of carrying out the thefts. Police believe that they stole seven cars and extorted 4,500 euros from the owners, who then never saw their vehicles returned. Kos escapees Six suspects being held at the main police station on Kos have been recaptured just hours after escaping from their cell early yesterday. The five Iraqis and one Greek escaped after removing the bars from one of their cell windows. Deadly fall A 40-year-old man has died in the village of Aghios Andreas, near Rethymno on Crete, after falling from a height of 5 meters as he was hanging up lights for a religious festival. According to witnesses, the man lost his balance when he received an electric shock, causing him to fall on his head. Authorities said yesterday that the married father of one died soon after being taken to the hospital.