Jailed ex-mayor faces more charges, for laundering and swindling

Just a day after the former mayor of Thessaloniki, Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, was transferred to Diavata Prison to begin a life sentence for his part in embezzling 18 million euros in city funding, attention shifted on Thursday to new charges the 65-year-old conservative is expected to face in the coming weeks.

A date is to be set soon for the trial of Papageorgopoulos and 16 other former municipal officials in connection with the swindling of 1.2 million euros from the city administration’s petty cash. The ex-mayor is also to face trial on charges of money laundering in connection with the 18 million euros that he and other former city officials were found to have filched.

After spending a night in a cell at Diavata Prison with nine other convicts, including the former general secretary of Thessaloniki’s City Hall, Michalis Lemousias, Papageorgopoulos asked to be transferred to a nonsmoking cell, citing chronic health problems. The former treasurer of the northern port city’s administration, Panagiotis Saxonis, who revealed the involvement of his one-time colleagues, was to be moved to another jail in Serres to avert tensions.

Anastasia Tsempera, the financial inspector whose report was instrumental in securing the convictions of Papageorgopoulos and his former aides, said she had been obstructed. “I was alone in all this. I faced many problems from municipality staff who made mistakes on purpose to mislead me,” she said.

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