Former Defence minister of Greece jailed for corruption

March 04, 2013 06:51 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 10:29 pm IST - ATHENS

Former Greek defence minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, surrounded by police, arrives at a court in Athens on March 4, 2013.

Former Greek defence minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, surrounded by police, arrives at a court in Athens on March 4, 2013.

A former Greek defence minister was sentenced to eight years in prison on Monday after a court found him guilty of submitting false income declarations, in a corruption case being watched closely in the crisis-hit country.

The court also fined Akis Tsochadzopoulos, a prominent figure in past Socialist governments, 520,000 ($676,000) and ordered the seizure of his Acropolis-view home in central Athens.

Mr. Tsochadzopoulos denied the allegations that he made the false declarations to conceal undeclared income from 2006 to 2009, hiding and has the automatic right to appeal. However, he will remain in prison until the issue is again brought to trial.

The 73-year-old has been in custody since his arrest last year and is also due to stand trial later this year on more serious corruption and money-laundering charges related to alleged corruption over a submarine contract.

Public officials have come under closer scrutiny from judicial authorities who have been given broader powers to investigate corruption cases since the country was hit by financial crisis. Last week, a former mayor of Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, was jailed for life over a 17 million ($22 million) embezzlement scandal.

Mr. Tsochadzopoulos served as defence minister from 1996 to 2001 and development minister between 2001 and 2004, and was a prominent member of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement, Pasok.

The party dominated Greek politics for decades but saw its public support hammered after the financial crisis broke out in late 2009 as country suffered high unemployment and punishing austerity measures. Pasok is currently a junior partner in the conservative-led coalition government.

Mr. Tsochadzopoulos was escorted to the court and back to a maximum security prison in Athens prison under heavy police guard.

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