Ex-Thessaloniki Mayor Seeks Leniency

ATHENS – The former mayor of Thessaloniki, Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, said he is going to appeal to Greece’s highest court for a further reduction of his once life sentence for embezzlement.

In July, Papageorgopoulos had his sentence for being an accessory to the theft of 18 million euros from municipal coffers reduced to 12 years but now he wants it cut again.

“I think everyone realizes that my name has been unjustly blackened,” he said in a statement. “The verdict against me was a matter of expediency. I was a scapegoat. My only hope is the Supreme Court,” he said.

The court also reduced life terms that had been imposed on Michalis Lemousias, the former general secretary of the Thessaloniki Municipality, and Panagiotis Saxonis, the former treasurer. Lemousias was given a term of 13 years and five months and Saxonis 20 years and six months.

The leniency came after the government of Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras vowed to crack down on corruption but it now is planning legislation to reduce the penalties for those crimes.