Former PASOK Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was arrested on Wednesday morning and is currently testifying in the department of organized crime (state NET TV). Tsochatzopoulos was arrested at his home in the noble Dionisioy Aeropagitou Avenue at the feet of Acropolis. The arrest warrant was issued early in the morning. Greek media report that the warrant allegedly followed a prosecutor’s investigation on how Tsochatzopoulos acquired his assets and the charges refer to false tax declaration (Occupying statement) for the financial year 2009 and money laundering. Five more arrest warrants have been issued on this case.
Tzochatzopoulos in company of security men – More pictures in NewsIt.gr
Newspaper To VIMA claims on its website that the former minister is accused of having received via off-shore companies 8 million euro from the German Ferrostaal and bought two properties in Athens. “According to the indictment, the money was sent through the bank Morgan Stanley in Switzerland” notes the newspaper.
Economic news portal Capital.gr reports that the arrest warrant was issued by head prosecutor Eleni Raikou΄s, who handled the case for his assets, “for hidden bank accounts and money laundering.” Also that the police investigated the home of his daughter “accused of inaccurate occupying statement” as well.
According to news-portal News247.gr has been banned from leaving the country and he has to pay a bail of 150,000 euro and that his property in Dionysioy Aeropagitou would be confiscated. However property owner is his wife.
Police officers went to his home early on Wednesday and Financial Crime Units (SDOE) had occupied his office. After his lawyers arrived, Tsochatzopoulos surrendered himself and got in the car of police. Without handcuffs. His detention was broadcast live on television.
Video: Tsochatzopoulos getting in the police car
Tsochatzopoulos has five working days to testify before the prosecutor. According to his testimony the prosecutor will decide whether he will be be temporary in custody or not.
Akis Tsochatzopoulos, a former heavy weight in socialist PASOK and one of close aides of Andreas Papandreou, was expelled from the party after his name was involved in the so-called “submarines bribes scandal” according to which German Ferrostaal paid bribes to Greek politicians. In 2011, a parliamentary committee investigation acquitted Tsochatzopoulos of charges under the statute of limitations, a law tailored to protect Greek politicians from charges and responsibilities.
Greek public opinion watched Tsochatzopoulos’ arrest with some reservations and questions how long it will take until he is set free.
Commenting on Akis Tsochatzopoulos arrest, some politicians told Skai TV that “Greece is turning a page”. Comments that made many Greeks wonder that Tsochatzopoulos’ arrest may have a “PR effect” with the proclamation of early elections today. Coincidence?
PS As elections near and there is no “bread” to offer, just “circus” would do it too (Bread and Circuses – Roman political strategy to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion, distraction, and/or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace.)