Former Cypriot Interior Minister Dinos Michailidis and his son Michalis were released by a district court in Limassol after making a 200,000-euro bail payment following their arrest Monday on a European warrant requesting that they appear at the Athens Appeals Court, which is hearing the money-laundering case against former Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
The ex-interior minister and his son are accused of having helped Tsochatzopoulos move money that he received in bribes during the purchase of a Russian-made missile system.
Both men denied the charges, while the Limassol court has 60 days to decide whether they will be extradited to Greece.
Back in Athens, meanwhile, the judge presiding over Tsochatzopoulos’s trial had to bring the court back to order several times yesterday after repeated objections and interruptions by the ex-defense minister, who has accused the public prosecutor of fabricating the charges against him.
Tsochatzopoulos, a former PASOK heavyweight, said that the purchase of Russian TOR-M1 short-range missiles was obstructed by politicians and other figures allegedly in the service of US business interests.
“There was interference from the American Embassy, American multinationals,” said Tsochatzopoulos. He suggested that the allegations of the prosecution reflected private interests that he did not identify.
“It was not me popping champagne bottles in the minister’s office when the German submarine contract was signed,” the prosecution counsel said.