Former minister denies money-laundering charges

Former minister denies money-laundering charges

Former defense minister Yiannos Papantoniou denied charges of money laundering on Monday during a marathon deposition before a corruption prosecutor.

According to the indictment, the Greek state suffered damages estimated at 400 million euros in 2003 in connection with a Hellenic Navy frigate armaments program.

Papantoniou denied the charges and reportedly claimed that had the procurement contract not been signed, he would have been accountable for serious offenses and would have harmed the interests of the state.

Prosecuting authorities also found 2.8 million Swiss francs in Papantoniou’s bank accounts which they believe he received as kickbacks  to approve the upgrade of six frigates.

According to the case file, authorities have linked money deposited in the bank account of a civil engineer friend of the former minister four months after the contract was signed with bank withdrawals made by the then representative of the French firm involved in the procurement program.

The civil engineer is believed to have served as a cover for Papantoniou.

The ex-minister described the allegation as an “outrageous construction” attempting to link cash withdrawals and deposits of two people who didn’t know each other.

The court is expected to rule on Tuesday whether to temporarily detain the former minister or grant him conditional release.

Papantoniou’s wife, Stavroula Kourakou, who is also charged with money laundering, was given until Tuesday to appear before the investigative magistrate.

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