ATHENS – Already free after being released from jail early after saying she was a mother, the wife of disgraced former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos – also let out after he said he was ill – walked out of court on July 19 without facing more charges after she said she knew nothing about a bribe he was supposed to have been paid.
Viki Stamati faced an investigating magistrate in connection with another bribery case and said she had no knowledge of an alleged 664,349 euro ($775,313) payment he received for a defense contract and then invested in a life insurance policy in Switzerland.
That came a week after he, too, denied any link to the contract even though he was the defense minister in charge of contract. He was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 19 years in prison for corruption but was let out this year on health grounds, although there were no reports whether other prisoners suffering from health problems were allowed to get out of jail.
Stamati had an eight-year sentence that was shortened, partially as a result of being confined to a psychiatric hospital, from once she escaped but was still allowed out before finishing her sentence.
He walked out of the high-security Korydallos Prison where he was sent to serve his sentence for corruption, pending an appeal. He had been released earlier only to be sent back.
“I am not at my best. I need to take care of myself,” Tsochatzopoulos, 79, told reporters waiting for him outside the prison.
He and his wife, Vicky Stamati, 55, who was released from mail earlier after she said she was depressed and because she was a mother – and had escaped from a psychiatric hospital – had been also convicted of an elaborate money-laundering scheme to hide the millions they stole.
“I would like to thank my wife above all, who throughout this entire time, alone and despite abandoned by everyone – acquaintances, friends and others – kept up the fight and ensured the best possible outcome,” Tsochatzopoulos said.
The last time he was released, the couple were seen dining on lobster spaghetti at an expensive seaside tavern although they said they were broke and had no money. It wasn’t reported where they were living.
A number of high-profile politicians sent to jail for corruption have also been released after claiming they, too, didn’t feel well.