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Ex minister may face more charges

Former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who was remanded in custody last month on money laundering charges, is soon likely to be called before an investigating magistrate to respond to questions about new evidence linking him to offshore companies allegedly used to hide bribes he accepted in connection with arms purchases.

Kathimerini understands that authorities have found documents at the former minister’s office in Patissia, Athens, and his luxury home on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, near the Acropolis, that link Tsochatzopoulos to the offshore companies. To date, the minister has denied any connection to the firms, from which he bought some of the properties he owns. The documents include papers that have been signed by Nikos Zigras, the ex-minister’s cousin, who is also a suspect in the investigation.

Tsochatzopoulos is likely to be called to give further evidence in the next few days. Sources said that it is possible the content of the documents will lead to the former minister facing additional charges to the ones already leveled against him.

The ex-PASOK official’s wife, Viki Stamati, is also waiting to hear over the next few days if she will have her request to be released from custody granted. Stamati, who also faces money laundering charges along with Tsochatzopoulos’s daughter Areti, has asked to be placed under house arrest so that she can look after the couple’s 5-year-old son. Both Stamati and Areti Tsochatzopoulou deny the charges against them. Stamati claimed that she had no knowledge of her husband’s business dealings.

“I do not mind remaining under arrest in my house, which has been seized following a prosecutor’s instructions,” Stamati said in her appeal. “I do not mind being under police guard as long as my child can get the protection, the support and the care he needs.”

Tsochatzopoulos and Stamati are being held in different wings of Korydallos Prison, where they are allowed to meet once a week.

ekathimerini.com , Monday May 7, 2012 (22:59)  
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