Ex minister’s wife denies knowledge of money laundering

Viki Stamati, the wife of former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos – both of whom are on trial for money laundering with another 17 defendants – told an Athens court on Friday that she had no knowledge of a series of suspicious accounts and offshore companies that have been linked to the ex-Socialist strongman and insisted that the charges against her were baseless.

“I am innocent, entirely innocent,” Stamati told the Athens Appeals Court. “Who has ever been jailed and deprived of their child because of one or two couches?” Stamati told the court, referring to media allegations about her extravagant spending on trips and home furnishings.

The 50-year-old failed to offer convincing answers to a volley of questions by prosecutors. One related to receipts for “luxury goods” found in Tsochatzopoulos’s office. “How could you have been unaware of the source of the money for these purchases?” she was asked.

Stamati was also questioned about a Swiss bank account opened in her name and into which several large deposits had been made, according to prosecutors. She denied any knowledge of it.

Earlier on Friday the former head of procurements at the Defense Ministry, Yiannis Sbokos, denied any knowledge of entries in the personal diary of Tsochatzopoulos which suggest that Sbokos accepted bribes to seal arms deals.

The trial continues next week with defendants’ expected to complete their testimonies on Tuesday.