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Former Greek minister found guilty of money laundering

by Reuters
Monday, 7 October 2013 17:43 GMT

Greek former defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos (C) arrives for a court trial as defendant for money laundering in Athens, Greece, April 22, 2013. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

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* Tzohatzopoulos sentenced to 20 years in jail

* His wife, ex-wife and daughter also found guilty

* Case symbolises corruption that plagued Greece (Updates with sentence)

ATHENS, Oct 7 (Reuters) - A former Greek minister already in jail for tax fraud was given another 20 years in prison for money laundering on Monday, court officials said, in a case that has come to symbolise the graft that has plagued the crisis-hit country.

Akis Tsohatzopoulos, defence minister from 1996 to 2001, was convicted of putting kickbacks from arms deals between 1997 and 2001 into foreign bank accounts, the officials added.

His wife, ex-wife, daughter and 13 others were also convicted of money laundering on Monday.

In the highest-profile conviction of a politician in decades, Tsohatzopoulos was sentenced in March to eight years in prison for failing to disclose the source of his wealth and submitting false income statements in 2006-2009.

Soaring unemployment and austerity measures have deepened popular anger against the generation of politicians who led Greece into a debt crisis in 2009.

The government is trying to placate that anger by cracking down harder on high-level tax evasion and fraud.

Tsohatzopoulos last served as a minister in 2004 and quit politics in 2009.

Two other defendants were acquitted of the money laundering charges, the court officials said. (Writing by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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