Court rejects Tsochatzopoulos appeal for ex-PM to testify

The Athens Appeals Court which is hearing the trial of former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos for money laundering on Friday rejected a request for the former members of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), including ex-Prime Minister Costas Simitis, to appear as witnesses in his money laundering trial.

The court deemed that the testimony of Simitis, who co-signed defense deals approved by Tsochatzopoulos, was not necessary at the current stage of the trial. It did not rule out, however, the possibility of summoning Simitis and other former members of KYSEA at a later stage.

The move prompted the 73-year-old former socialist strongman to leave the court proceedings in protest. “My presence is not necessary here of I only have the role of spectator,” he reportedly told the presiding judge. “I’ll be back when we start tackling issues of substance.”

Tsochatzopoulos and 18 others, including his wife, ex-wife and daughter, face charges of laundering money that he allegedly took in bribes during his time at the Defense Ministry.