NEWS

In Brief

SIEMENS PROBE

Owner of suspect Swiss bank account called in to testify The magistrate investigating the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal yesterday summoned a woman who held a Swiss bank account that was allegedly used to transfer slush money from the Greek branch of the German electronics firm. Antonia Markou has been called to give evidence after coming forward voluntarily in 2008, when she claimed that a former friend and then vice president of an organization promoting Greek exports, Dimitris Negris, had asked her to open a bank account at UBS in Geneva in 1993 and to allow then Siemens Hellas general manager Ilias Georgiou to have access to it. More than 4 million German marks (some 2.4 million euros) were transferred through the account until it was closed in 2003, according to the case file, including a payment of 450,000 marks to former Transport Minister Tasos Mantelis. Markou denies knowing that the account was used to make under-the-table payments. FLIGHT DISRUPTION Air traffic to be hit by stoppage Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines flights will be disrupted tomorrow because air-traffic controllers are planning to stage a four-hour work stoppage as part of a one-day strike by civil servants protesting wage cuts. The stoppage will take place between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and will result in the cancellation of nine Aegean flights and changes in the departure times of 18 domestic and 35 international flights. Sixteen Olympic flights will be canceled while 18 of its domestic and 13 of its international flights will face delays. The stoppage will affect other airlines as well. Passengers are advised to call ahead. Church charity Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, yesterday urged his bishops to «roll up your sleeves» and do all they can to boost the Church’s charity work. Ieronymos made the comments during a meeting of the Church’s Holy Synod at which the economic crisis was the main topic of debate. Ieronymos also revealed that the Church would take part in the Bank of Greece’s share capital increase in order «to protect and continue the social aspect of our work and to play a role in the country’s effort to achieve economic growth.» The Church is already one of the bank’s shareholders. Shell shock A World War Two shell was discovered in a dumpster in the northeastern Athens suburb of Halandri late on Monday. A hand grenade that did not contain explosives was also found in the dumpster. The army was called in to remove both items. Safecrackers Two men were arrested early yesterday outside the Vellidio Conference Center, where the Thessaloniki International Fair is held, on suspicion of stealing more than 21,000 euros. The suspects had broken into the conference center’s offices and stolen the money from a safe, police said. Bank raid A bank employee suffered minor injuries during a robbery at a branch of Emporiki Bank in Patra yesterday. An armed man struck the employee on the head with a handgun before taking about 7,000 euros in cash. The robber then mounted a motorcycle which was driven off by an accomplice.