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Greek ex-minister found guilty in corruption case

ATHENS — A former Greek defense minister was found guilty of money laundering on Monday in the most prominent corruption case to date in the financially stricken country.

An Athens court found Akis Tsochadzopoulos, a prominent figure in past Socialist governments, guilty along with 16 of his 18 codefendants, including his wife, former wife, and daughter, after a five-month trial. He had spent nearly 18 months in jail in pretrial detention, as had his wife, daughter, and other close associates.

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Prosecutor Georgia Adeilini demanded a 20-year prison sentence for Tsochadzopoulos, and 6 to 13 years for the other defendants.

In March, a court had sentenced the 73-year-old Tsochadzopoulos to eight years in prison for submitting false income declarations. It also ordered the seizure of his home in central Athens and imposed a $706,800 fine.

The corruption case stems from a scandal over a contract for the purchase of German submarines and for Russian antiaircraft missiles. Tsochadzopoulos had been accused of accepting bribes between 1997-2001 to award the contracts. Although the bribery charges are beyond the statute of limitations for a former minister, he was convicted of money laundering for using the proceeds of the alleged bribery.

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