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Tsohatzopoulos's bribes sought in Washington

20 October 2012 / 16:10:35  GRReporter
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The Office for Combating Economic Crimes (OCEC) suddenly turned its attention to the Olney area in Washington to find traces of at least 60 million euro from the armament programmes. The scandal involves former Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and former Secretary General for Armaments Yiannis Sbokos. This new investigation is based on testimony and documents, according to which a member of the Sbokos family has bought a very expensive property in the Washingtonian suburbs, and probably has other investments in the United States as well. Moreover, the name of Sbokos is associated with investments in a night club in Heraklion, as the judicial investigation shows. Another reason for the investigation is a note from Tsohatzopoulos, which reads "Sbokos to return a package of 10 million euro, which he received from a member of a famous business group in his house in February 2003".

When Sbokos was summoned to testify before the judicial officers three weeks ago, he said that he met the member of the group, mentioned by Tsohatzopoulos, in 2000 or 2001 during the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Sbokos's native village on the island of Crete. The businessman accompanied the Patriarch and promised to help Sbokos in a matter regarding his daughter. They had met once more on Crete and then never again. As shown by media investigation, the visit of the Patriarch in the village was in 2002. Sbokos, however, has not made it clear to investigators that this event was also attended by Akis Tsohatzopoulos, and he has even held a speech in his capacity as Minister of Development. An investigation by To Vima newspaper shows that Sbokos's daughter had started studying in the USA a year before the alleged request and the assistance of the concerned businessman on Crete. The error in chronology does not seem accidental at all - Sbokos probably wants to hide when and why he met the man Tsohatzopoulos is talking about.

Sbokos's daughter graduated in medicine in Florida in 2006. During her studies, she met a Greek, whom she married in 2007 in Heraklion. The wedding was attended by Tsohatzopoulos himself, although - according to Sbokos - their relations at the time were bad. Close associates to Sbokos claim that Tsohatzopoulos came uninvited to the event.

Sbokos's daughter and son-in-law work in hospitals in Boston and Yale. What is of great interest is that they have bought a property worth 510,000 dollars in Olney, near Washington. Close associates to Sbokos claim that this purchase was made through a mortgage loan. However, OCEC is investigating the possibility of requesting assistance from the USA about the actual economic situation of the family. Although they earn salaries, in recent years they have constantly been changing their place of residence.

OCEC is also investigating the alleged economic relations of Sbokos with a large night club in Heraklion, where the wedding of his daughter was held. According to the gathered information, the company which is identified as the owner of the club, was founded in 2002 with an initial capital of 60,000 euro. After a short period, the members of its management committee were replaced and the share capital was increased to 400,000 euro. A relative of Sbokos is a member of the Managing Board which also includes an engineer who has once worked on joint projects with Sbokos. Sources from the night club say that Yiannis Sbokos has absolutely no relations with the centre. OCEC stressed that the company is constantly changing the members of its management, as well as its name and headquarters in Athens. An offshore company is probably also involved in the property.

Tags: Tsohatzopoulos Sbokos bribes
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