Acquittals in defense systems bribery case

Acquittals in defense systems bribery case

Businessman Thomas Liakounakos, former General Secretary for Procurements at the Ministry of Defense Yannis Sbokos and Monaco-based British lawyer and businessman Peter Coleridge, a Liakounakos collaborator, were acquitted Thursday of charges of bribery and money laundering in a case over 20 years old.

The Appeals Court Prosecutor had recommended their acquittal.

The case concerned the sale, in 1999, of four Erieye Airborne Early Warning and Control systems by Swedish company Ericsson Microwave that were mounted on Brazilian Embraer early warning aircraft.

The total deal – the acquisition of the four aircraft and the radar systems – was valued at $500 million and, according to accusation, bribes of $13 million were paid to Greek officials.

The court, by contrast, found Christos Toumbas, Ericsson Microwave’s agent in Greece, and Swiss banker Jean-Claude Oswald, guilty, and they were sentenced to 3 and 6 years, respectively. Oswald was sentenced in absentia, having broken his monitoring bracelet in November 2018.

Sbokos, a close friend and collaborator of then-Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, with whom he has fallen out since, had been sentenced to 10 years for the same case by a lower court and to 22 years for bribery in another case. He was freed in January 2020, after serving 7 years and 4 months of that other sentence.


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