Ex-Thessaloniki mayor’s jail term for embezzlement lightened

Former Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos had his life sentence for embezzlement reduced on Monday to a maximum sentence of 20 years by a court in the northern city.

By a vote of 3 to 2, the five-member appeals court ruled that Papageorgopoulos had been an accessory to the stealing of municipal funds while in office. This crime carries a jail term of between 10 and 20 years.

Papageorgopoulos continued to protest he was not responsible for the embezzlement of 17.9 million euros, declaring the court’s verdict “a mistake.”

He was initially convicted in February 2013 along with municipal treasurer Panayiotis Saxonis and the former general secretary of the municipality, Michalis Lemousias.

Lemousias also had his sentenced reduced from life to a maximum of 20 years. Saxonis had his 15-year sentence for embezzlement and money laundering upheld.

The court was due to decide on sentencing later on Monday.

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