Siemens trial sparks war of words
Officials lash out at media leaks blaming prosecutors for big delay in proceedings
Justice officials have lashed out against suggestions leaked to the media that appeals court prosecutors were responsible for the indefinite postponement of the Siemens cash-for-contract deals trial due to a technicality.
The union of judges and prosecutors issued a tough statement yesterday, saying that an effort was under way to bring the country’s justice system into disrepute, cre- ating “insecurity among citizens.”
The announcement came after the newly appointed Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou ordered deputy prosecutor Anna Zairi on Wednesday to conduct an investigation into the reasons behind the trial’s delay. The much publicized suspension, which critics have said is an embarrassment to the country’s leftist-led government, also prompted Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to contact Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos to push for the trial’s resumption as as soon as possible.
Paraskevopoulos met with Dimitriou yesterday, requesting that an exception be made for the case as well as that against former transport minister Tasos Mantelis – which was also postponed – so that they jump the queue and be expedited.
However, Justice Ministry sources said yesterday that the time frame will be designated after at least two months, mainly because the indictment ruling must be translated into German and French for the one French-Swiss and 13 German defendants. This was the reason why the trial – investigating allegations that Siemens bribed politicians to award the German company the contract to digitialize Greece’ OTE telecom – was postponed.