Court acquits 11 over 2003 helicopter purchase
The 11 defendants accused of illegally profiting from the purchase of Apache military helicopters from Boeing in 2003, including businessman Thomas Liakounakos and Defense Ministry executives, were unanimously acquitted yesterday by a three-member criminal court of appeals. The case concerned a secondary contract linked to the main one for the purchase of 12 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, costing a total of 594 million euros. The secondary contract which implicated the 11 suspects concerned projects undertaken as a subcontractor by Liakounakos’ company Sonak, the costs of which, according to the case file, were lower than those foreseen by the relevant law. According to the charge, the subcontractor caused damages to the Greek state valued at approximately $27 million. However, the court ruled that the state did not incur damages from the disputed contract and therefore the acts attributed to the accused were not substantiated. Among the 11 who were acquitted was Spyridonas Travlos, who served as general secretary of the Defense Ministry during Yiannos Papantoniou’s stint as minister.