PASOK and ND want ex-minister indicted
In an unprecedented move, both ruling socialist PASOK and the main conservative opposition, New Democracy, yesterday called for the indictment of former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who has been accused of accepting bribes in order to approve a submarine procurement deal.
The parliamentary committee investigating the purchase of four German submarines by the Hellenic Navy a decade ago issued a unanimous decision for the ex-minister to be indicted on criminal charges of bribe taking at the expense of the state and money laundering. The committee comprised members of all parties represented in Parliament apart from the far-right Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS). Opposition deputies called for Tsochatzopoulos to be indicted on other charges including breach of faith and violating state secrets.
Most MPs on the committee also called for the former minister to be ordered to provide financial compensation to the state.
The committee submitted its report to Parliament, where it is to be perused by the plenary session within the next two weeks.
In an interview with Skai Television’s “New Folders” program last night, the ex-minister once again denied any wrongdoing, rebuffed allegations linking his assets to offshore companies and claimed that the parliamentary investigation was “full of holes.” Tsochatzopoulos conceded, however, that the submarine deal had involved “middlemen who took kickbacks.” He reiterated calls for the parliamentary committee probing the affair to summon all the members of the political and military council that approved the deal, including current Prime Minister George Papandreou, who was then foreign minister, and former Premier Costas Simitis, to give evidence. Only with their testimony will the matter be cleared up, Tsochatzopoulos maintained.