Former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis appeared before the court handling the appeal of former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos against his sentence for money laundering and bribery in the Greek Defense Ministry. Testifying in front of the five members of the Court of Appeal for Felonies, ex PM Simitis stated among others:
“I know absolutely nothing about the illegal acts attributed to the defendants. I would say, however, that there may be bribery, as it has been proven that it took place happened. ”
Noting that he was in favor of armament reduction after the rapprochement with Turkey, Simitis said that the former defense minister had opposed this reduction.
Kostas Simitis explained that the duty of the members of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) was to take decisions concerning armament needs and that they were not informed about the cost of procurement.
“The Defense Minister would propose for example F-15 or F-16 and the KYSEA would decide. Normally, the minister’s proposal was adopted.”
He said bribery can exist before and even after an armament issue reaches the KYSEA.
He stressed that he was not aware of anything illegal taking place and that he was informed much later about the bribes when officials were accused and consequently sentenced in other countries [note: Germany – SIEMENS – Ferrostahl]
Simitis expressed his sorrow that “this abjection happened during my premiership, when our goal was to upgrade and modernize the country.”
Addressing Tsochatzopoulos, the ex PM said “There were so many things happening in the ministry, you ought to inform me. I don’t tolerate such things.”
After Simitis, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos testified before the court. Former Ministers Yiannos Papanotniou and Vasso Papandreou are invited to testify on May 20th. (sources: zougla.gr, newsit.gr, protothema.gr)
PS more or less the former Top officials of “the whole of PASOK” as Greeks use to say … 🙂