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Former Thessaloniki mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos escapes the life sentence

14 July 2014 / 14:07:51  GRReporter
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Former Thessaloniki mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos was found guilty of embezzlement of 17.9 million euro from municipal funds in the second instance too.

With a majority (3-2) and by changing the prosecution, the five-member appeals court in Thessaloniki found the former mayor guilty as an accomplice in malfeasance, a crime punishable with imprisonment of between 10 and 20 years.

Let us recall that the first instance had sentenced Vassilis Papageorgopoulos to life imprisonment for his direct involvement in the embezzlement. After hearing the court's decision, the former mayor turned to it, saying, "This is a mistake."

Former general secretary of the municipality Michalis Lemousias was found guilty too. The charges against him include complicity in embezzlement of funds as well as complicity in falsification of documents. The first instance had sentenced the former secretary to life imprisonment as well. Michalis Lemousias commented on the sentence with the words "a cold-blooded murder", adding that the judges "made a terrible mistake."

The five-member judicial panel unanimously found former municipal treasurer Panagiotis Saxonis guilty of embezzlement, forgery and legalization of proceeds from criminal activities. He was the third person sentenced to life imprisonment in the first instance, and only his guilt was proven.

Finally, the court found guilty the two former directors of the municipal cash office, Thomas Golas and George Gaidatzis, for not properly checking their subordinate. In the first instance, they were sentenced to 15 and 10 years in prison for direct involvement in embezzlement.

Subsequently, in response to a request for mitigating circumstances presented by the defence of the accused, the supervising prosecutor said that he would recognize no such circumstances relating to Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, Michalis Lemousias and Panagiotis Saxonis (the defence pointed out the lack of criminal record, sincere repentance and subsequent good behaviour as mitigating circumstances).

The court then withdrew to discuss the recognition of mitigating circumstances and to decide on the definitive sentences.

Tags: Vassilis PapageorgopoulosEmbezzlementMalfeasanceCourt of Appeals
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