As kickback scandal widens, state recoups some lost cash

As an investigation into a new kickbacks scandal widens, the government has recouped a portion of the losses suffered from the affair after former Defense Ministry official Antonis Kantas returned 7 million euros to state coffers.

Kantas, who has admitted to pocketing 16 million dollars in bribes for securing arms contracts, returned the money on Tuesday after investigating magistrates traced 13.7 million euros in an account in Singapore. The ex-official’s lawyers said they would try to return the rest of the money “in the coming days.” Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the money would go toward “covering shortfalls in the health and education sectors.”

Kantas has implicated several people including former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is in jail for money laundering. One of the suspects, arms dealer Dimitris Papachristos, 78, is to face an investigating magistrate Friday. His lawyers claim he suffers from amnesia.

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