Police and judicial officials searched the offices of the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) in Athens on Wednesday and seized the hard drives purportedly containing the original audio files of the conversations of a jailed station master and train engineers on the night of Feb. 28, 2023, when the fatal Tempi train crash occurred.

The search was conducted by order of the magistrate tasked with the investigation rail collision, which claimed the lives of 57 people.

Copies of the recorded conversations are already in the hands of the magistrate assigned to the case, who ordered the search following a report by the Greek weekly “To Vima” about tampering with the original files. The magistrate wants to compare the recordings in his possession with the original audio files handed over to a judicial officer investigating on the ground.

Police first arrived at the OSE building in the center of Athens before going to the main Athens railway station, where the conversations are stored on recorders. A team also visited the Acharnes rail station, where the digital communication and radio coverage system archives are stored.

The Tempi crash has dominated much of Greece’s public discourse over the last year, with acrimonious debates in the political arena and accusations of a cover-up by the government lobbed by opposition parties, culminating in an unsuccessful no-confidence motion against the government last week.

The matter has cast serious shadows on the government’s credibility regarding the rule of law, even reaching the European Parliament when a petition – signed by 1.3 Internet users – was put forward by the mother of one of the victims and head of an association of relatives of  Tempi victims.

At the end of the EP session, the vice president of the committee, Jana Toom of Estonia (ALDE), announced that the report would remain open and be forwarded to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), as well as to the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN). She also said a written briefing has been requested by the European Commission.