Greece's former defence minister jailed for 20 years for graft
ATHENS (AP) - A former Greek defence minister was jailed for 20 years after being found guilty on Monday of money laundering in the most prominent corruption case to date in the financially stricken country.
After a five-month trial, an Athens court found Akis Tsochadzopoulos, a prominent figure in previous Socialist governments, guilty along with 16 of his 18 co-defendants, including his wife, ex-wife and daughter. Tsochadzopoulos' wife and daughter both received 12-year prison terms, and his ex-wife and cousin were ordered jailed for six years. The other defendants were handed six- to 16-year sentences.
The former minister denied all the charges against him and had accused the prosecution of conducting a politically motivated trial. In March, a court sentenced the 73-year-old Tsochadzopoulos to eight years in prison for submitting false income declarations. It also ordered the seizure of his home in central Athens and imposed a 520,000-euro (S$881,000) fine. He spent nearly a year and a half in pre-trial detention, as had his wife, daughter and other close associates.
The corruption case stems from a scandal over a contract for the purchase of German submarines and for Russian anti-aircraft missiles. Tsochadzopoulos was accused of accepting bribes between 1997 and 2001 to award the contracts. Although the bribery charges are beyond the statute of limitations for a former minister, he was convicted of money laundering for using the proceeds of the alleged bribery.