The Greek prosecutor handling former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos‘ appeal has requested to summon the members of the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) during his tenure. The prosecutor requested that the court summons former Prime Minister Costas Simitis, former Ministers Evangelos Venizelos, Giannos Papantoniou and Vaso Papandreou, as well as high rank military officers Athanasios Tzoganis, Manolis Paragioudakis and Georgios Ioannidis.
Tsochatzopoulos is imprisoned for receiving millions of euros in kickbacks from Greek military armament programs. In the first-degree procedure, the Athens Court of Appeals sentenced the former PASOK Minister to 20 years in prison. This is the maximum penalty Greece allows for this particular offense. He was convicted for repeated, intentional money laundering. The court did not uncover any mitigating evidence; all others involved in the case were also found guilty, except the the former Minister’s cousin, Nikos Zigras, who confessed and provided evidence for Tsochatzopoulos’ conviction.
The former Defense Minister held top government positions for more than 20 years. He has been appointed Minister for Public Works (1981–1985), Minister for the Presidency of the Government (1985–1987), Minister of Interior (1987–1989), Minister of Transport and Communication (1989–1990), Minister of Interior (1993–1995), Minister of National Defense (1996–2001) and Minister of Development (2001–2004). Additionally, in 1996, after PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou died, he lost an internal vote for the party’s leadership by Simitis, who replaced Papandreou in the country’s Premiership and called snap elections seeking a renewed public vote of confidence.