Greece orders release of former Cypriot minister

Greece has ordered the conditional release of Dinos Michaelides who aided a senior politician in kickbacks for an arms deal.

Greece orders release of former Cypriot minister

World Bulletin / News Desk

Greek court on Wednesday ordered the conditional release of a former Cypriot minister jailed for helping a leading Greek politician take millions of euros in kickbacks from arms deals more than a decade ago.

In a majority vote, a court in Athens upheld a petition by Dinos Michaelides, 80, that he be released on health grounds and on account of his advanced age.

In February 2015, Michaelides and his son Michalis were found guilty of money laundering and each sentenced to 15 years in prison. The son remains in prison.

The two men were accused of facilitating payments by a Syrian-born businessman to Akis Tsohatzopoulos, a founding member of Greece's Socialist PASOK party who served as defense minister from 1996 to 2001.

In its verdict, the Athens court said the elder Michaelides - who has denied the charges - must pay a 700,000 euro bond. He was also barred from leaving the country and must appear at a police station twice a month.

Tsohatzopoulos was jailed in 2013 for tax fraud and taking kickbacks for the arms deals. Details of lavish spending that emerged during his trial helped make the corruption case a symbol of the injustice felt by ordinary Greeks, who have seen pensions and wages cut during the economic crisis.

Michaelides, a centrist politician, served as interior minister in two Cypriot governments, the latest in the late 1990s. He was extradited to Greece in 2013.

The Syrian-born businessman, named in court as Fouad Al-Zayat, was tried in absentia and sentenced to life for bribery and 17 years for money laundering. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Haziran 2015, 16:21