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Bank accounts of the defendants on the case Tsohatzopoulos were blocked

14 April 2012 / 17:04:50  GRReporter
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The Head of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, Eleni Raikou, ordered the blocking of the bank accounts of former Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and the other four defendants accused of money laundering.

Eleni Raikou requested that all bank accounts held by the five defendants in Greece be blocked, and a special investigator, occupied with the case, has issued a warrant for their arrest, as he believes they might hide.

In addition to the former minister, who will be questioned on the Monday after Easter, this blocking of the accounts also affects Nikos Zigras (Tsohatzopoulos’ cousin who is, according to the prosecutor, his "right hand"), Efrosini Lambropoulou (accountant, representative in Greece of the three offshore companies which are believed to be owned by the former Defence minister), Giorgos Sahpatsidis (a businessman, involved in the purchase of real estate between the company TORCASO and the Vatopedi monastery), and Asterios Economidis (the main shareholder in a company that has renovated the house on "Dionisiou Areopagitou" St. and sold to the daughter of the former Prime Minister apartments on "Dinokratous" St. in the prestigious neighborhood of Kolonaki).

The first three will be heard on Tuesday and the last defendant Economidis was arrested on Maundy Thursday after being questioned before the magistrate.

It should be noted that the prosecutor's conclusion on this case speaks of a network of people and offshore companies who have helped the former minister for over 10 years to conceal the traces of the illegal payments through dozens of bank accounts in Greece and abroad, as well as virtual and actual buying and selling of real estate.

The conclusion, consisting of 206 pages, was prepared by the county prosecutors Evgenia Kyvelou and Eleni Siskou, who studied the financial state of the former minister. In their conclusion, they state that the defendants "have created and participated in networking for the legalization of revenues earned through many years of taking bribes to the detriment of the state."

"Through a complex network of partners, agents, bank accounts, business contacts in different countries, created by the above mentioned persons huge amounts of money have been transferred, concealed, and invested ", states the conclusion.

According to the prosecutors, the amounts concealed by Tsohatzopoulos are related to illegal compensation from arms deliveries performed by him while he was Defence minister.

Who is Akis Tsohatzopoulos?

He participated in the resistance against the junta (1967-1974). He was a close associate of Andreas Papandreou. He participated in all of the governments of PASOK from 1981 to 2004. He was about to become Prime Minister in 1996, when Andreas Papandreou resigned, but he lost with a few votes difference to Costas Simitis. He managed to build an impressive career before facing justice.

In 2004 in Paris Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who is now 73 years old, got married for the second time to Vicky Stamati, who is 35 years younger than him. The wedding took place in the luxurious hotel «Four Seasons», where the groom arrived in a brilliant blue "Jaguar".
For his holidays Tsohatzopoulos prefers the luxurious bungalows in Lagonissi. He likes to live in luxury homes. Before he acquired the neoclassical house on "Dionisiou Areopagitou" St. he lived in a house in Psychico.

The arrest warrant of the longtime minister from the fall of the junta in 1974 until today was a pleasant surprise for Greek society. The general sense of impunity of the politicians began to shake. To overcome this feeling, the "purge" should be continued. So as not to remain only "fireworks" aimed at destroying a politician out of the government, abandoned by his followers.


His origin does not suggest his move to the top of politics. Akis Tsohatzopoulos is the son of a bus driver in Thessaloniki. When he was still young his family moved to Thessaloniki. At the age of 19, after graduating high school, Tsohatzopoulos emigrated to Germany to work and study. In the mid-60s he graduated as an engineer. He became interested in politics in a period of violent events that ended with the imposition of dictatorship in 1967.

In 1968 he settled in Munich. There he joined the Panhellenic Liberation Movement of Andreas Papandreou, who was fighting against the junta. He quickly became a loyal friend and helpful associate of the future Prime Minister. In 1970 he was promoted to secretary of the Panhellenic movement for Western Europe. After the fall of the dictatorship, he followed the founder of PASOK in Greece. He supported him on his way to power and became a minister in his government.

First marriage

Akis Tsohatzopoulos met his first wife Gudrun Moldenhauer in Munich, where they got married. At that time he was a student and worked in a company for cleaning windows. She worked as a secretary in a company where Akis cleaned windows. They got divorced after 30 years of marriage, during which they had two daughters.

With his first wife Gudrun Moldenhauer

The "handsome Brummell" of PASOK

Andreas Papandreou was the first one to call Akis Tsohatzopoulos the "handsome Brummell". The real Handsome Brummell lived in England during the 18th century. He managed to gain the friendship of King George IV and enter the royal court. He believed that he himself should also live like a king. He is one of the founders of the London "dandy" fashion.

His downfall came when he bought a house in the most expensive neighborhood in London, Chesterfield. Brummell continued to think that he was powerful and could continue to live as he was accustomed. But things developed differently, and he was arrested.

Akis Tsohatzopoulos got married for the second time to Vicky Stamati in July 2004. A little later they entered into also a religious marriage in Paris. The best man was Michelle Kantas who was a personal friend of the groom.

During the Luxurious wedding in Paris in 2004, when Tsohatzopoulos married Vicky Stamati who is 35 years younger than him

Seven years after the marriage in the City of Light Tsohatzopoulos who was no longer a member of Parliament returned to the parliament building, but this time he had to testify before the investigating commission in the case of the submarines.

His career in PASOK

Together with the late George Genimatas and Kostas Laliotis, Akis Tsohatzopoulos was part of the so-called "troika of PASOK". The "Troika" is a collective deputy head of the Movement. Tsohatzopoulos was the antithesis of Genimatas. He was very devoted to Andreas Papandreou and fully complied with all of his decisions.

At that time, the following story was told as a joke: once Akis asked Andreas what time it was, and he replied: "Whatever you say, Prime Minster".

Since the early '80s until 1996, when he lost the battle for the leadership post of PASOK, Tsohatzopoulos had a whirlwind political career.

In 1993, when Andreas Papandreou again returned to power, Akis Tsohatzopoulos actually became deputy prime minister.

Akis Tsohatzopoulos with Andreas Papandreou

PASOK's founder resigned as Prime Minister in 1996. He was succeeded not by Tsohatzopoulos but by Costas Simitis, who won the elections within the parliamentary group and was sworn in as Prime Minister. Tsohatzopoulos remained strong, as he represented about 40% of PASOK. In June 1996, after the death of Andreas Papandreou, Tsohatzopoulos tried to take down Simitis during a Congress of the party, but was again defeated.

As always challenging

The once powerful Minister of PASOK could not understand that times had been changing, even when he was left outside the Parliament. After his second marriage in 2004 he continued to live lavishly and often in a challenging way. The expensive purchases of his wife from the shops in the prestigious neighborhood of Kolonaki were discussed in detail among the political circles. The purchase of a neoclassical house just below the Acropolis was the "icing on the cake". The tax return form that he had filed could not justify such a costly purchase.


1st of June, 2010. The regional prosecutor Eleni Raikou ordered a preliminary investigation in connection with the publications for inconsistencies in the tax return form of Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

7th of June, 2010. A proposal is made in PASOK for the party affiliation of Akis Tsohatzopoulos to be withdrawn.

24th of January, 2011. An investigation of the parliamentary committee, established to check the allegations of bribes given by Siemens. It was found that the politicians, among whom is also Akis Tsohatzopoulos, participated in the case.

18th of March, 2011. Αkis Tsohatzopoulos made a complaint against the magazine «Der Spiegel» for publication in connection with bribes received by the company-producer of the submarines.

11th of April, 2011. Tsohatzopoulos was permanently suspended from PASOK.

26th of May, 2011. According to the Office for Combating Economic Crimes, the price which he had indicated in his tax return form for the purchase of the neoclassical house on "Dionisiou Areopagitou" St. is lower than the tax value of the property.

June 6, 2011. Parliament decided that he must be charged with receiving bribes and money laundering.

13th of January, 2012. He was called before a prosecutor as a suspect for filing an inaccurate tax return form.

11th of April, 2012. Based on the arrest warrant, he was arrested for money laundering and was taken to the "Police" General Directorate on "Alexandras" Ave.

Tags: Akis Tsohatzopoulos arrest prosecutor charges blocked accounts money laundering bribes
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