Greek Ex-Minister Convicted Over Bank Account

A Greek former defense minister has been convicted of failing to declare 1.2 million euros his wife had placed in a Swiss bank account.

ATHENS – A Greek former finance and defense minister has been convicted of failing to declare 1.2 million euros ($1.5 million) that his wife had placed in a Swiss bank account.

An Athens court sentenced Yannos Papantoniou and his wife Stavroula Kourakou to four years each in prison and ordered them to pay fines of 10,000 euros respectively. The prison sentence will be suspended pending the couple’s appeal.

The court said Papantoniou, a Socialist, should have listed the sum in his 2010 annual wealth declaration.

The 65-year-old served as minister of finance and national economy between 1996 and 2001, and held the defense portfolio from 2001-2004.

He has said the money had already been declared under other bank accounts, before they were moved to the Swiss account.

The court ruled that Papantoniou and Kourakou can buy off their respective sentences at a rate of 10 euros a day and said that the sentence is suspended until their case is heard by a second-instance court.

He and his wife were found to have made a false claim in their 2009 declaration of wealth forms, a procedure all Greek public officials are obliged to submit to once a year as part of the effort to clamp down on graft.

The discrepancy between their stated and actual assets was revealed when their names appeared on the so-called Lagarde list of Greeks with large deposits at the Geneva branch of HSBC. The couple is also facing criminal charges in relation to the same case.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)