Socialist former defense minister Akis Tsohatzopolous has been arrested in Athens on suspicion of money laundering. The Greek politician is alleged to have taken bribes when purchasing German submarines.
A former Greek minister was arrested in Athens on Wednesday, charged with taking bribes in a deal to purchase German submarines for the Greek military.
Former Socialist Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopolous was arrested outside his central Athens home, a luxurious mansion at the foot of the Acropolis. His purchase of the premises prompted the investigations against him.
Tsohatzopolous, who left the cabinet in 2004 and was a member of parliament until 2009, is the only prominent political figure to have been arrested so far in a Greek clampdown on tax evasion and other alleged financial wrongdoings.
Greek politicians decided last June to revoke the immunity granted to Tsohatzopolous for his time as a cabinet minister.
Greek justice ministry officials concluded in initial investigations that Tsohatzopolous had not satisfactorily explained how he came by the money to buy his luxurious Athens home and other items of real estate in recent years.
Greece purchased four Type 214 submarines in the year 2000, a deal worth 2.85 billion euros ($3.73 billion). According to German investigators, the Ferrostaal company paid millions in bribes during the deal.
Ferrostaal has already been ordered to pay almost 140 million euros as a result of bribes issued in order to secure lucrative submarine contracts in Greece and Portugal at the time. A former company board member was handed a two-year suspended sentence and a fine in a 2011 local court case in Munich.
msh/sej (dapd, dpa, Reuters)