Trial Set For Vatopedi Suspects

ATHENS – Fourteen people linked to the scandalous Vatopedi Monastery property swap that cost the state millions of euros six years ago will stand trial, the country’s highest court ruled.

Those who will face charges of breach of trust and making false declarations include the monastery’s Abbot, Ephraim; a monk, Arsenios, and the wife of former Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, Katerina Peleki.

The Supreme Court backed an October 2013 decision by Council of Appeals court judges that there is enough evidence that the  taxpayers’ interests were damaged during the exchange.

The land swap allegedly led to Vatopedi obtaining prime real estate in return for property of a lesser value. Ephraim is accused of meeting politicians and public officials between 2001 and 2008 and talking them into carrying out the swap.

The head of former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s office, Yiannis Angelou, will not have to stand trial, the appeals court said last year.