Post­pone­ment of Siemens trial irks gov­ern­ment

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The de­ci­sion by an Athens court yes­ter­day to in­def­i­nitely post­pone the trial of dozens of sus­pects in the Siemens bribes-for-con­tracts scan­dal sparked a strong re­ac­tion from the left­ist-led gov­ern­ment, with uniden­ti­fied of­fi­cials com­plain­ing of foul play.

The court de­cided to ad­journ the pro­ceed­ings be­cause the in­dict­ment rul­ing had not been trans­lated into French and Ger­man for the one French-Swiss and 13 Ger­man de­fen­dants in the case.

Re­peated de­lays in the trial have fu­eled fears that some of the of­fenses could ex­pire un­der the statute of lim­i­ta­tions.

Speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, an of­fi­cial close to Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras told Kathimerini that “some are push­ing to have the of­fenses ex­pire un­der the statute of lim­i­ta­tions.”

“We shall find who is re­spon­si­ble for this,” the source said.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, the For­eign Min­istry’s trans­la­tion ser­vice re­jected al­le­ga­tions that the in­dict­ment had not been trans­lated on time as “false and un­founded.”

“De­spite the huge work­load, [the ser­vice] has com­pleted on time the mas­sive, 1,580page trans­la­tion project and de­liv­ered the in­dict­ment rul­ing on time to the ap­peals prose­cu­tor,” the min­istry said in a state­ment, while call­ing for sanc­tions against those “mis­in­form­ing” the public.

The ap­peals prose­cu­tor con­firmed that the trial was post­poned due to de­lays in trans­lat­ing the doc­u­ment and mak­ing it avail­able to the de­fen­dants. Ac­cord­ing to ju­di­cial ex­perts, de­fen­dants have to re­ceive the text at least a month be­fore the trial.

Kathimerini un­der­stands that ap­peals prose­cu­tor Ioan­nis Provataris had sent four me­mos to the For­eign Min­istry (the first on April 8, 2015 and the fi­nal one on April 27, 2016) urg­ing of­fi­cials to speed up the trans­la­tion pro­ce­dure.

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