Conviction of ex-FinMin, DM upheld; sentence redeemable with cash payment
An appellate court in Athens on Wednesday upheld a previous four-year prison sentence handed down to former Greek finance and defense minister Yannos Papantontiou for failure to list more than 1.3 million euros in a bank deposit on an obligatory statement of means and assets, although the jail time is redeemable at 10 euros per day.
The same sentence was upheld for Papantoniou’s spouse, Stavroula Kourakou.
Most office-holders, including all Cabinet members and Parliament MPs, are obliged to file annual statements of means and assets.
A 1.311-million-euro bank account in Switzerland, located on the so-called “Lagarde List” provided to Greek authorities in 2010, was traced to the Papantoniou couple.
The ex-minister and his wife claimed that there was no attempt to hide the cash, which they said was provided by Kourakou’s former husband as a type of trust fund for their two children, Papantoniou’s step children.
Nevertheless, a retired tax bureau auditor who was previously assigned the case, said all of the transactions involving the specific Swiss bank account by the couple between 2000 and 2010 revealed an attempt to export money from the country without raising attention.
A prosecutor also recommended that the sentence be upheld, saying the true source of the money was never revealed, while dismissing the couple’s claim that the bank deposit was a trust fund for Kourakou’s two older children, which was not known to Papantoniou.
“Didn’t they know they had to declare it (bank account)? Any citizen would have asked lawyers one hundred times over if he had to declare it,” was the prosecutor’s closing argument.
The court also ordered that a lien be placed on the couple’s upscale northern Athens home, which had previously been transferred to the couple’s only child together.
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