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Ex Defense Minister Tsochatzopoulos released from prison after 5 years

The five-member Court of Appeals for Felonies decided to release from prison former PASOK Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos due to health reasons.Akis Tsochatzopoulos was convicted to 20 years imprisonment for bribes and money laundering. Total time he spent in prison is five years.

By a majority of three to two votes, the court decided to accept the former minister’s request to suspend the 20-year imprisonment. It was the fifth request the ex minister had submitted.

Earlier, the prosecutor had proposed his release on bail.

The prosecutor spoke of excessive and irreparable damage to the health of Tsochatzopoulos. The convict “is hospitalized and the postoperative course is slow due to multiple health problems,” the prosecutor stated adding there were “serious indications for imminent health damage also due to his advanced age.”

In February his lawyers asked for his early release due to health problems and saying that “they fear for his life.” Judges rejected the request saying that Korydallos prison would not cause irreparable damage” to his health.

A month later, Tsochatzopoulos was transferred to a public hospital in Athens to undergo triple by-pass surgery. He is still hospitalized.

Akis Tsochatzopoulos, 77,  was jailed for receiving kickbacks and money laundering from contracts for the purchase of submarines and TORM1 missiles when he was head of the defense ministry from 1996 to  2001.

The scandal around the ex minister broke out in May 2010, when Greek media revealed that  that his wife had purchase had purchased a house for one million euro from an offshore company in one of Athens’ most prestigious neighborhoods. Media reports came only a few days before the Greek parliament passed a series of austerity measures aimed at increasing taxes and combating tax evasion in the context of the first bailout program.

He has been serving his sentence in the high-security prison of Koraydallos in Athens.

Before him also his wife, Vicky Stamati, and his daughter were released for being mothers of underage children. Wife Stamati had also serious psychological problems.

The judges set the bail terms as :

payment of a 200,000-euro,  ban from leaving the country and the use of aircraft and vessels, delivery of passport to police station, ban to issue new passport, compulsory appearance at local  police station twice a month.

The bail decision was taken 4:1 as one court member was in favor of a bail at 100,000 euros.

Tsochatzopoulos’ lawyers, wife and daughter already commented on the bail terms saying that it was not possible for the ex minister to bring together so much money.

His bank accounts were frozen when charges were raised.

PS you don’t want to know the Greeks’ bitter comments on internet about the ex minister’s release.

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