Ephraim given new date to testify in ongoing land swaps investigation

Abbot Ephraim of the Vatopedi monastery was on Thursday given a new deadline to testify before an appeals examining magistrate Irene Kalou concerning the notorious land swaps between the monastery and the state.

The abbot is now required to appear before the magistrate on November 29, while his alleged chief accomplice in the the land swaps case, the monk Arsenios, will appear before the magistrate on Monday.

Abbot Ephraim has been in Russia since October 20 at the invitation of the Russian Patriarch, accompanying a holy relic that was sent from Mount Athos to Russia. He is expected to return to Greece on November 25.

Ephraim and Arsenios are considered the protagonists in the controversial land swaps between the state and monastery, which centre on the ownership of Vistonida Lake and the lands around it. This is the second time the two monks have received a new date to testify concerning the serious charges against them, which include morally instigating the issue of false certificates, fraud and legalising income from illegal activity.

Their testimony will complete the magistrate’s investigation into the charges against non-political persons involved in the land swaps affair. The magistrate has already heard the testimony of the other suspects, members of advisory councils, the state property company civil engineers, notaries and lawyers involved in the case.

After they testify, Kalou will then refer the case file to the appeals justices council, which will decide whether those involved should stand trial. (AMNA)

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