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German woman sought in probe into Greek ex-minister

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Greece issued a warrant Thursday for the arrest of a German woman allegedly implicated in money laundering engineered by a Greek ex-minister.

Greek judicial authorities requested the arrest of the German former sister-in-law of Akis Tsochatzopoulos after over 1.45 million Swiss francs (1.18 million euros) was found in her bank account, state agency ANA said.

Tsochatzopoulos, 73, was sentenced earlier in March to eight years in prison for hiding revenue in the first of a series of trials related to his years in power.

The former minister in a succession of socialist governments was also fined 520,000 euros ($674,000) and the court ordered the seizure of the disgraced official's opulent home near the Acropolis in Athens.

In addition to hiding revenue and failing to declare the purchase of his residence in 2009, Tsochatzopoulos will be tried separately on alleged links to controversial arms deals while he was defence minister from 1996 to 2001.

He is accused of having abused his position to pocket kickbacks on state contracts to buy a Russian-made anti-missile system and German submarines. The Greek state ended up paying surcharges of millions of euros.

Prosecutors say the illegal proceeds were used for several choice real estate purchases in Athens by Tsochatzopoulos and members of his family.

Tsochatzopoulos has been incarcerated at Korydallos prison near Athens since April.

The ex-minister's second wife and daughter are also in pre-trial detention.

Tsochatzopoulos, a founding member of the Pasok party and a close aide to late socialist prime minister Andreas Papandreou, had denied any wrongdoing.

His lawyers argued that he cannot be tried for alleged abuse of power that occurred over a decade earlier.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130321/german-woman-sought-probe-greek-ex-minister