Ex-minister denies contact with Ferrostaal officials

Former Socialist heavyweight Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is on trial for laundering money allegedly obtained from bribes during his stint as defense minister, on Friday denied he had been contacted by former employees of Ferrostaal, the German industrial group that arranged the purchase of four German submarines by the Hellenic Navy.

Tsochatzopoulos, who was defense minister when the 2.85-billion-euro submarine deal was agreed in 2000, is accused of receiving an 8-million-euro bribe from company employees.

“A minister does not negotiate with agents but with his German counterpart. A government does not enter into bargaining of this kind,” he told the prosecutor, adding however that he knew the firm gave tens of millions of euros in bribes in exchange for contracts.