Prosecutor ejects former minister during trial

The chief prosecutor in the money-laundering trial of former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos on Tuesday temporarily ejected the 73-year-old from court after he vehemently contested the grounds for his questioning in connection with the acquisition of Russian missiles.

“This is not a cafe. You must learn how to behave,” Panayiotis Panayiotopoulos told Tsochatzopoulos after the latter repeatedly interrupted him with objections. “I don’t understand why I’m being tried for the Tor M1,” the former minister had said, referring to the short-range missiles procured during his stint as defense minister from 1996 to 2001.

Tsochatzopoulos, and his legal team, argued that he should not face trial in connection with the Russian missiles as a parliamentary probe into their acquisition had not led to an indictment. The prosecution countered, however, that the current trial is based on a prosecutors’ investigation, not a parliamentary probe.