Ex-PM Simitis points finger of blame at Tsochatzopoulos over arms bribes

Ex-Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a court on Wednesday that ex-Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos would have been in a position to accept bribes when he was part of the PASOK government.

“It is possible, when the minister and the general secretary for procurements work together,” Simitis told the court in his first appearance as a witness in Tsochatzopoulos’s appeal against his lengthy sentence for money laundering.

“I think it is possible it could happen but I have no personal experience of these issues,” added the ex-premier.

Simitis told the court that his government had decided to increase defense spending in the wake of the Imia crisis with Turkey in 1996 but that after the Helsiniki Summit in 1999, when Ankara committed to settling any territorial disputes with Greece via The Hague, there was a decision to scale back on this expenditure. The former prime minister said that Tsochatzopoulos was the only member of his government that objected to the spending cuts.

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