ATHENS - Former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted of stealing millions of euros from defense contracts and laundering the bribes, is due to be released from jail on April 28 after serving only four.
He is being released on compassionate grounds after the 77-year-old underwent a triple bypass operation last month. His release was delayed until he could raise the 200,000 euros needed ($217,360) required.
The money was raised by relatives and friends of the influential former minister, who has suffered from health problems since his incarceration, the newspaper Kathimerini said.
It’s common in Greece for rich people convicted of even serious crimes to buy jail time or be released early while those without means aren’t.
The court imposed additional conditions for his release, the Athens News Agency said.. Tzochatzopoulos is required to turn over his passport and is banned from leaving the country or from travelling in boats and aircraft, while he is required to reside at a specific address and to regularly appear at his local police station.
An Athens criminal appeals court had refused to lower the amount of bail he was required to pay for his release from prison but gave him the option of paying the amount in either cash, a letter of guarantee issued by a bank or through a mortgage of property owned by himself or a third party. The former minister had petitioned the court to lower bail, claiming that he was unable to pay.