Greek Former Education Minister Convicted of Usury, Not Jailed

Yiannis Anthopoulos, former Education Minister with PASOK.(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Yiannis Anthopoulos, who served as Education Minister in a former PASOK Socialist government, was convicted by a criminal appeals court for collusion in usury and money laundering, in a case involving a loan granted to a tobacco seller from Kavala, northern Greece.

But like other high-profile politicians convicted of crimes, he won’t go to jail, receiving a 15-year suspended sentence and as the court ordered the seizure of his home in the wealthy enclave of Voula on Athens’ coast, and confiscation of his bank accounts of 1.7 million euros ($1.93 million).

Another three co-defendants were convicted for usury and ordered to pay back a total of 5.7 million euros ($6.46 million), said Kathimerini, and all lost their rights to vote for five years and barred from leaving the country.

The case filed alleged he was an intermediary from 2002-2005 in order for tobacco company owner Odetti Petridi to receive a usurious loan from the company of the politician’s co-defendants, totaling 17.6 million euros ($19.94 million) at unlawful interest rates, which earned Anthopoulos 1.7 million euros ($1.93 million).

The case was revealed a few years ago after the financial crimes unit SDOE discovered money in the bank accounts of the former minister and his wife which he was not able to legally justify, leading him to be accused of forcing Petridi to pay him off through usury which Anthopoulos claimed was just a loan.