Former Greek minister Yiannis Anthopoulos and three other defendants were sentenced to 15-year suspended jail sentences on Wednesday for the crime of loan-sharking. The crime took place in the northeastern Greek city of Kavala.
Anthopoulos was a member of the Greek Parliament from 1989 until 2004 and served as undersecretary of Education and Economy in consecutive PASOK governments.
The three defendants, all officers of the Namaco company (later renamed Gennet) were sentenced for their lending practices, while Anthopoulos was sentenced as an accomplice in loan-sharking and for money laundering.
The court also ordered the confiscation of personal assets belonging to the four defendants, up to a total of €7.4 million ($8.4 million), the exact amount they gained from their illegal activities.
Of that total, €1.7 million ($1.91 million) represents assets of former minister Anthopoulos, including his residence in the coastal suburb of Voula. The the remaining €5.7 million ($6.5 million) is from the assets of the other three defendants.
Each of the four men were also deprived of their civil rights for five years and fined €5,000 ($5,700). Anthopoulos and two of his codefendants were also barred from leaving the country.
According to the case file, the former minister, who had previously been Undersecretary for Education and Commerce, acted as intermediary from 2002 to 2005 so that the owner of tobacco company “Odette Petrides” could borrow €17.6 million ($20 million) from his co-defendants.
The high-interest loan was covered up through the use of fake tobacco transaction bills. For every bill submitted, Anthopoulos appears to have collected 10 percent of the amount, which eventually totaled €1.7 million ($1.91 million).