Court slaps ex-defense minister with asset seizure, 1.5 mln euro fine

Court slaps ex-defense minister with asset seizure, 1.5 mln euro fine

An Athens court on Thursday ordered the seizure of real estate assets and cash deposits held by former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, as well as fining him 1.5 million euros, of which he will have to pay 1 million euros.

The court, which has been hearing the cash-for-contracts and money laundering case against the former politician for the past three years, released some property to be used by the former minister’s daughter Areti and his ex-wife Gudrun, as well as the home where he lived with current wife, Viki Stamati, and their son in the northern Athenian suburb of Halandri.

Judges had initially wanted the Halandri property seized as well, but were convinced otherwise after the vehement reaction of Stamati, who had said on Wednesday that she is filing for a divorce from the 78-year-old Tsochatzopoulos as she feels she has been unfairly punished for being his wife.

The same court also ordered Tsochatzopoulos back to prison after he was granted release last year on the grounds of ill health, but reduced his sentence to 19 from 20 years. He is likely to be transported to Halkida Prison so serve out the remainder of his sentence.

The court is also due to decide whether the time already served by Areti Tsochatzopoulou and Stamati for money laundering is sufficient

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