It was an awkward moment when former PASOK Ministers, including Prime Minister Costas Simitis, met at the Court of Appeals as witnesses in the trial of former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos who is imprisoned for receiving substantial armament kickbacks.
Simitis, current PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, former Minister Vasso Papandreou and Tsochatzopoulos exchanged cold handshakes. “Good morning, President,” said Tsochatzopoulos to Simitis who coldly shook his hand without saying anything. The top former PASOK members have often exchanged bitter comments since they stopped being in office.
It should be noted that it is the first time a former Prime Minister takes the witness stand in a trial where a former Minister of his administration is being tried.
The depositions of the former Ministers and Simitis will be taken later as prosecution witnesses will be heard first. Simitis is scheduled to testify on May 13, Papandreou and former Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou will testify on May 20 and army chiefs will be heard on May 27.
The court hearing on the armaments procurement programs case examines if Tsochatzopoulos had received bribes in order to favor arm deals from specific companies.