Two graft convicts released as Stamati waits [Update]

An Athens court on Wednesday ordered the conditional release of Dinos Michaelides, a former Cypriot minister jailed in February in connection with a money-laundering scheme centered around Greece’s ex-Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, currently appealing his own conviction.

Michaelides, who was found guilty of helping Tsochatzopoulos pocket millions of euros in kickbacks from state defense contracts, was released after posting 700,000 euros in bail and on the condition that he remain in the country and report regularly to his local police station. The ex-minister, who is 80, was released due to his fragile health.

Another suspect who was convicted in connection with the Tsochatzopoulos affair, businessman Giorgos Sachpatzidis, was also granted conditional release yesterday after citing poor health.

In a related development, a prosecutor proposed that a sixth appeal by Tsochatzopoulos’s wife, Viki Stamati, to have her conviction commuted to house arrest be refused. Stamati, who was also convicted of money laundering, has spent several months of her prison sentence in a psychiatric clinic. Yesterday she begged an Athens court to grant her house arrest, citing depression and desperation to see her young son. The court is expected to decide on her latest appeal in the coming days.