Tsochatzopoulos and 18 others to appear in court over bribery, money laundering

Ex-Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, his wife Viki Stamati and another 17 people are to stand trial, possibly next month, in connection with the alleged acceptance and laundering of bribes from military procurements when the PASOK politician held office in the late 1990s and early part of the last decade.

A council of appeals court judges ruled that 19 out of a total of 21 suspects should be tried. In their 1,000-page report, the judges said there was not enough evidence to prosecute Stamati’s aunt and Eftichios Atsopardis, the legal representative of one of the offshore companies that was allegedly used to launder the slush money.

Apart from Tsochatzopoulos and Stamati, those who will stand trial are: Asterios Economidis, Efrosini Lambropoulou, Nikos Zigras, Giorgos Sachpatzidis, Areti Tsochatzopoulou (the ex-minister’s daughter), Yiannis Sbokos, Nikos Georgoulakis, Panayiotis Stamatis, Pantelis Zachariadis, Oratios Melas, Constantinos Antoniadis, Spyros Chatzinikolaou, Gudrun Moldenhauer (Tsochatzopoulos’s first wife), Fotis Arvanitidis, Nikos Karatzas and Giorgos Konstantatos. Eight of the suspects have been in pretrial custody since last year.

The case is likely to be heard in a criminal court in Athens next month, sources said. The 19 are accused of being involved in the process of accepting bribes, laundering the money through offshore firms and then using it to buy property and other assets.

This week another court ruled that Tsochatzopoulos had failed to declare his assets properly over the last few years and handed him an an eight-year jail term. It also ordered the confiscation of his luxury home in central Athens. Apart from the apartment on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, authorities have also temporarily seized another 23 properties belonging to Tsochatzopoulos and his relatives. The properties are estimated to have a taxable value of 18.5 million euros. Their actual market value is thought to be much higher.

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