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New findings in probe of former minister's money-laundering network

An ongoing investigation into the labyrinthine network allegedly set up by Akis Tsochatzopoulos, intended to launder money received in kickbacks from arms sales in the 1996-2001 period when he served as defense minister, has uncovered another eight companies in addition to the three offshore firms that are already the subject of a judicial inquiry.

Investigations into the money-laundering network have focused recently on information gleaned from Tschoatzopoulosís voluminous notes, found among his personal documents. These are said to consolidate evidence found in a parallel probe by Swiss authorities, requested by Athens. The Swiss probe uncovered evidence suggesting Tsochatzopoulos had set up an additional eight companies in Switzerland and Italy through which to funnel ill-gotten gains.

One of the companies being probed is based in Aosta, in Italyís Lombardy region, bordering Switzerland, and is called ęS.D.G, S. r. I.,Ľ Kathimerini understands. The shell company appeared to be owned by Giorgos Sachpatzidis though court documents showed it belonged to Tsochatzopoulos. It is believed that seven of the eight companies being probed channeled more than 8 million euros into the Italian-based firm between 1999 and 2001, via another company that oversaw Russian arms procurements. An examination of the Italian-based firmís bank account also found two deposits for 25,000 euros each made by Tsochatzopoulosís first wife, Gudrun Moldenhauer, which suggests that she too may have been involved in the laundering network.

Tsochatzopoulos is in custody at Korydallos Prison, along with his wife Viki Stamati and his daughter from his marriage with Moldenhauer, Areti, all in connection with the network. Sachpatzidis, who posed as the frontman of the Italian-based company, is also in custody.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday September 4, 2012 (18:03)  
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