Just one day after voicing concerns that intimidation against judges in Greece is increasing at a time when they are intensifying their efforts to tackle corruption, the country’s top judge Vasiliki Thanou is facing an investigation by the Ministry of Justice into trumped up charges brought against her brought by a bankster Andreas Vegnopoulos, implicated in the engineered collapse of the Laiki Bank in Cyprus which looted taxpayers.
The charges against Thanou could even result in a political impeachment or removal process of the kind that has occurred against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. A secret recording has, in the meantime, revealed that senators plotted to remove Rousseff precisely to stop an investigation into their acts of corruption.
The influnece of banksters on the Tsipras government is underlined by the fact that the Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos started the probe in response to pressure from Vegnopoulos, who sent a letter yesterday demanding he act.
The bizarre charge brought against Thanou by Vgenopoulos with the assistance of Paraskevopoulos seems to be that Thanou did her job.
Vgenopoulos has alleged that Thanou has used her position to try to influence the derailed legal proceedings regarding the extradition of two of his associates and former board members of Laiki. But isn’t that she was supposed to do?
Vegnopoulos alleges that Vasiliki Thanou “bribed and blackmailed” judicial officials to get an investigation into his activities back on track.
The details of his charge are not known to me, but it is the job of the President of the Supreme Court to get her subordinates to do their job and investigate why probes against banksters like Vegnopoulos are dropped without adequate reason by using her influence and by employing all reasonable means at her disposal.
Since Thanou has the power and right to influence subordinates to do their job as part of function, it is simply not plausible that she resorted to bribery and blackmail, as they are defined in criminal law, to accomplish a legitimate aim that she has is empowered by lawful means to attain.
It is much more plausible that Thanou’s acts of trying to get the investigation back on track were legitimate, within the bounds of the law, guided by the overriding motive to see justice done, but have been wilfully misinterpreted as criminal acts by Vgenopoulos and other prosecutors implicated in corruption in order to justify filing charges against her which serve as a pretext for intimidation.
Thanou was forced to step down as the head of the inquiry in April after appeals court prosecutor Georgia Tsatani, who is also being scrutinized for her role in dropping the Vgenopoulos probe, claimed she was biased.
In an echo of the Dilma Rousseff case, a prosecutor, Tsatani, who apparently has been engaged in serious corruption for which she could face a penalty, has accused the President of the Supreme Court of bias for daring to investigate her corruption.
As in Brazil, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, many of his ministers and banking and business associates may well have a motive to stop the Greece’s judiciary from asserting its independence given the way that corruption, cronyism and allegedly bribes and kick backs have flourished by finding a pretext to remove her.
That Thanou was acting in the interests of justice is admitted by Vgenopoulos himself. He has accused her of acting “blindly” in the interest of Cyprus, i.e. of doing her best to get arrest warrants issued by Cyprus state prosecutors against two of his associates implemented in Greece.
Sorry, but assisting non Greek prosecutors in their pursuit for justice is what Thanou is supposed to do
My own case highlights the politicized nature of the justice system, corruption on a staggering scale. In fact, Thanou could do worse than study the methods used in my case to prepare for her defence.
Crucial to her success in my view will be a pro active attitude in ensuring the probe follows due process and that all the evidence in favour of her is not removed from the file and invented or distorted evidence against her is challenged in a timely fashion.
In my view, she should file a counter charges against Vgenopoulos and Tsatani, if necessary in Cyprus.