Court rules penalties on mobile phone firms were illegal In a ruling yesterday, the Council of State deemed illegal the 2007 fines imposed on mobile phone firms Vodafone and Ericsson in connection to the tapping of then Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s telephone as well as those of other government officials. Vodafone was fined 76 million euros and Ericsson 7.3 million by the Communications Privacy Protection Authority (ADAE) but the country’s highest administrative ruled that because ADAE held its sessions in private, the imposition of the penalties was not arrived at lawfully. The court said that the body should have held a public hearing before deciding on the fines. CONTRACT WORKERS Protest moves to ministry Culture Ministry contract workers did not protest at the Acropolis yesterday but picketed the ministry instead, as they kept up pressure on the government to meet their demands. The civil servants, many of whose contracts run out at the end of the month, are demanding that the agreements be renewed. The workers were angered by the fact that neither Culture Minister Panos Geroulanos nor his two deputy ministers were available to speak to them. The head of the workers’ union Nikos Hasomeris refused to meet with lower-ranking officials. The ministry employees vowed to continue their protests. Prescription safeguard The social security fund for self-employed workers yesterday launched a computerized system to keep track of doctors’ prescriptions for its members in a bid to stamp out corrupt practices. The Organization for the Self-Employed (OAEE) estimates that the move will help it save some 1 billion euros. Papers stolen Former minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos reported to police yesterday that his home was broken into on Saturday. Tsochatzopoulos, who has been ousted from PASOK over corruption allegations, said that a number of files containing financial and political documents were taken from his house along with a small amount of money. Sea battle Two sailors and one passenger were injured late on Sunday when a group of AEK soccer fans on board a passenger ferry clashed with PAOK supporters in the port of Igoumenitsa. The PAOK fans were waiting to board a ferry for Italy when a ship carrying the AEK fans, who were also heading abroad, docked at Igoumenitsa. The two groups threw objects at each other, forcing authorities to ask the captain to leave the port so the ship the PAOK supporters were due to board could dock. Bank raid A 27-year-old woman has been charged in Tripoli, in the Peloponnese, with acting as a driver for three men who conducted an armed raid on a local branch of National Bank. The woman’s boyfriend, a 28-year-old municipal policeman, is being sought in connection to the raid. The local authority said that he had not reported for work since Friday. Burglarette trio Police in Kalamata, in the Peloponnese, said yesterday that they caught three women red-handed as they were trying to break into an apartment. According to officers, the three women, aged 24, 25 and 33, had been working together to burgle a number of properties in Kalamata.