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Justice Ministry intervenes in prison release of ex Energa executive

Greece’s Justice Ministry intervened in the prison release of former executive of private power company Energa, Aris Floros. A court ruled the release on health grounds and triggered an outrage.

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis has reportedly asked for the court ruling that opened the way for the release of the 39-year-old businessman. Floros was convicted last year to 21 years imprisonment for embezzlement of public money through  his company Energa. 

“The verdict raises many and reasonable questions,” a statement issued by the Justice Ministry said on Saturday.

Aris Floros has been reportedly diagnosed with with a disability rate of over 67 percent due to epileptic seizures and other psychiatric problems.

The criminal code allows the release of prisoners with over 67 percent disability if they have served a fifth of their sentence.

In February 2017, Floros was convicted for the felony charges of embezzlement, smuggling and money laundering to 21 years prison sentence and a fine of 1.5 million euros.

He has submitted several release requests initially citing psychological problems like depression and suicide thoughts.

Floros was the managing director of Energa, which, along with another power company, Hellas Power, withheld more 256 million euros from the Greek state through the special property tax levy (ENFIA) via electricity bills.

The companies collected the levies between September 2011 and November 2012 but subsequently failed to hand the money over to the state.

In March 2018, Floros was found guilty of instigating an assassination attempt on lawyer Giorgos Antonopoulos in November 2014 in Penteli, outside Athens.  The lawyer was legal opponent in the Energa – Hellas Power case. Two Albanian nationals were charged as the physical assassins. They had testified Floros had promised them 300,000 euros. Floros was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment but the sentence was suspended.

Kontonis intervention comes after a huge public outrage has been triggered since Friday when the upcoming release became public.

Main Opposition party New Democracy slammed the release decision and blamed the government for it. ND described the decision as “despicable.”

The ministry statement said also “the judgments handed down by the competent judicial boards are not governmental decisions.”

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