Tsochatzopoulos apologizes, but not over graft charges

During a tense session at the Athens Appeals Court Thursday, Former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos apologized – not for the charges of money laundering that he faces along with another 18 defendants but for the failures of socialist PASOK and its contributions to the country’s debt crisis.

Conceding that he bore a “huge responsibility” for the mistakes of the party, Tsochatzopoulos said he was only partly to blame for PASOK’s role in the country’s economic decline, noting that “all those who came from PASOK were responsible in their own way.” The former Socialist strongman, who co-founded PASOK, also sought forgiveness from “the people of PASOK,” apparently referring to the party’s supporters.

The ex-minister continued to refute the charges against him, however – namely that he set up a complex money-laundering network to cover the trail of millions of euros in kickbacks from defense deals.

Tsochatzopoulos made another impassioned appeal for the release of his wife, Viki Stamati, one of his co-defendants, saying her prolonged detention was groundless and unfair. Stamati also addressed the court, insisting that she had no knowledge of the source of her husband’s wealth and insisting on her release from custody, claiming that her detention had been painful for her 6-year-old son.

With the conclusion of the defendants’ testimonies, prosecutors are to start summing up in the middle of next week.

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