Cyprus Company Implicated In Akis Tsochatzopoulos Scandal
A company in Cyprus has been implicated in a scandal involving former Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is accused of taking bribes and money laundering, according to Greek press reports.
73-year-old Tsochatzopoulos was arrested on Wednesday, April 11th, on allegations he took millions in paybacks in a submarine purchasing deal from a German company.
The company in Cyprus, called Torcaso, was founded in 1999 on the island and owns several properties that the former Greek minister allegedly aquired in order to launder money he received from pay-offs, according to the head of the Greek authority for Combating money laundering, George Gkrozo. The managing director of the company is reportedly the cousin of Tsochatzopoulos, Nick Zivras, who was also arrested. Other companies named as being involved in the affair are Liberia-based Nobilis and US-based Blue Bell.
Meanwhile, according to Greek press, a 103-page document has been prepared by prosecutors Helen Siskou and Eugenia Kyvelou that sheds light on the actions of a group created by the once powerful member of PASOK party for laundering his illegal income. The role played by the group of 14 persons is explained with details in the document, as well as how they used off-shore companies like Torcaso to purchase expensive properties in order to hide the trail of the illegally acquired money.
As members of the group, besides Zigras, the prosecutors identify Tsochatzopoulos daughter Areti, his wife Vassiliki Stamati, her brother Panagiotis Stamatis, her aunt Catherine Stamati, the accountant Euphrosyne Lampropoulos, ,the lawyer Maria-Talita Tsekoura, the businessman George Sachpatzidis, Asterios Economides, Nikolaos Georgoulaki, Pantelis Zachariades, Oratios Melas, Constantinos Antoniades and Eftichios Atsapardis. So far, police have arrested George Sachpatzidis, Nick Zigras, Euphrosyne Lampropoulos, and Asterios Economides, who surrendered voluntarily for questioning.
Tsochatzopoulos allegedly used offshore companies in order to receive payoffs, including 8 million euro from the German company Ferrostaal.
He then used the money to buy properties in Kifisias avenue and in Komna Traka street, both in Athens. The politician was accused of taking bribes in connection with the purchase of four German submarines by the Hellenic Navy in the early 1990's.
Tsochatzopoulos was a powerful figure in Greek politics, and had several ministerial posts in the Greek government. At one stage he was a candidate for prime minister.
The fresh scandal has hit news headlines a few weeks ahead of elections in Greece, set for May 6th. In 2011, the Hellenic Parliament voted to prosecute Tsochatzopoulos, who has been on conditional release since his indictment.
Message from CyprusNewsReport.com. We can't do it without your help. Please support our independence so we can keep bringing you high-quality, free news from Cyprus and the region.
To make and read comments, become a full member of your news community, click here.