Re-Trial of Former Defense Minister Tsochatzopoulos Begins Today

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Former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos is expected to be transferred today from Korydallos Prison to the Athens Appeals Court to attend the second-degree proceeding of his trial. Tsochatzopoulos is imprisoned for receiving millions of euros in kickbacks from Greek military armament programs.

In the first-degree procedure, the three-member Court of Appeals of Athens sentenced the former PASOK minister to 20 years in prison. This is the maximum penalty Greece allows for his particular offense.

Akis Tsochatzopoulos was convicted for repeated, intentional laundering of money. The court did not uncover any mitigating evidence; all others involved in the case were also found guilty, except the cousin of the former minister, Nikos Zigras, who confessed and provided evidence for Tsochatzopoulos’ conviction.

In the second-degree procedure, the Court will re-examine the convictions imposed on Akis Tsochatzopoulos’ wife, Vicky Stamati, and his daughter, Areti Tsochatzopoulos.

Both women are currently in prison serving 12-year sentences. Judicial authorities have rejected all requests for release on bail.

The first-instance court imposed the following penalties on the remaining co-defendants of Akis Tsochatzopoulos:

Asterios Economides: 12 years
Frosso Lampropoulou: 13 years
Nikos Zigras: 6 years
George Sachpatzidis: 13 years
Giannis Sbokos: 16 years
Maria Tallita Tsekoura: 10 years
Nikos Georgoulakis: 10 years
George Konstandatos: 10 years
Oratios Melas: 10 years
Konstantinos Antoniadis: 10 years
Panagiotis Stamatis: 6 years
Gudrun Molntenaouer: 6 years
Fotis Arvanitis: 6 years
Nikos Karatzas: 6 years

The last four – the brother of the wife of the former minister; the former wife of Akis Tsohatzopoulos; the businessman and former MP; the owner of “Ianos” bookstore chain – were found guilty, but without the aggravating circumstance of the offense by profession.

All convicted also received five-year deprivations of political rights.

Lawyer Spyros Chatzinikolaou and businessman Pantelis Zahariades were found not guilty.