Minister’s daughter free
The daughter of former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was released from prison yesterday after serving 2.5 years in custody. “I want to return to my children,” said Areti Tsochatzopoulou upon her release. “I still cannot believe it.” Tsochatzopoulou was taken into custody in 2012 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison last October for her role in laundering millions of euros in kickbacks received by her father during his tenure as defense minister. Tsochatzopoulou has been banned from leaving the country and must appear at her local police precinct twice a month. Judges recently rejected a fourth appeal for early release by Vicky Stamati, Tsochatzopoulos’s wife, who is also serving a 12-year prison sentence in the same case. Tsochatzopoulou refused to comment on this issue as she left prison.
The Council of State is being called on to solve a potential problem caused by the government’s decision to relax restriction on student transfers between universities. A total of 115 academics from Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University have filed an appeal with the Council of State arguing that the transfers are unconstitutional and will result in overcrowding in some departments.
A former New Democracy MP who is alleged to have been part of a gang that forged rich people’s wills to obtain their assets after their deaths yesterday denied any involvement in the gang. Alexis Kougias, the lawyer of the former parliamentarian who cannot be named for legal reasons, issued a statement on his behalf. “Our client has instructed us to cooperate with judges and prosecutors to clear up the matter,” it said, adding that a new statement would be issued detailing “when and how” this would happen. So far seven people have been arrested and another three are wanted in connection to the alleged fraud, which led to the gang amassing 12 properties and 480,000 euros in cash.
An Athens court yesterday ordered fashion entrepreneur Lakis Gavalas to pay a debt of 70,000 euros to the state in 36 installments with the first payment due on January 15. The businessman, who was arrested for the seventh time in connection with unpaid taxes earlier in the day, was recently handed a five-year suspended sentence. The court ruled that if he missed a payment he would go to prison. Gavalas has previously offered to transfer three properties valued at 40 million euros to the state in exchange for the write-off of a 17-million-euro debt.
Police in Thessaloniki have arrested two men in connection to two illegal vodka distilleries they discovered operating in the areas of Pentalofo and Kordelio. A third person, a man sought for the murder of a Halkidiki businessman, was also arrested at the Kordelio distillery.