ATHENS – A three-justice criminal appeals court gave 17 defendants in one of the Defense Ministry’s many scandals no jail time even though their crimes cost the state some 48.4 million euros ($57.97 million) in losses.
The defendants got suspended sentences of 10 to 16 years after an appellate level prosecutor recommended they be acquitted outright with no explanation why, nor why the court instead imposed the jail time on paper and not to be served.
The most prominent was high-profile defense contractor Thomas Liakounakos, who got a suspended 16 year sentence three years after being taken into custody in 2015 and faced an anti-corruption magistrate in connection with allegations he bribed politicians as part of an arms deal more than a decade ago.
He had faced bribery and money-laundering charges but didn’t testify, instead giving the court a written account in his defense with the case that involved a Monaco-based offshore firm in his name.
He was arrested earlier after a probe launched by a prosecutor found that an alleged 2-million-euro ($2.4 million) bribe for an airborne early warning system that Greece purchased in 1999 passed through an offshore company in his name.
The court also ruled that defendants must pay the state back for the entire losses and damages for their omissions and acts in the purchase of the SONAK radar system company where Liakounakos was a senior executive.
Also convicted were two former defense ministry officials over the deal in which SONAK was paid to deliver a system but didn’t. There was no explanation where the money went.
Also convicted was his associate Ilias Arkoumaneas and two former general secretaries of the defense ministry ,Giorgos Kolliris and Evangelos Vasilakos.
Another 13 defendants received smaller sentences but everybody went home.