“I remind you that I served Greece for 30 years and knew a lot of well-known citizens and politicians,” said the former minister. “Of course I knew the part that they all played. We all judge and are judged. Today, I’m not just being judged but I’ve been thrown into a modern-day Colosseum created for political reasons. My turn to judge will come. By exposing the whole truth, everyone will have to take on his share of the responsibility.”
The 73-year-old ex-minister is accused of pocketing as much as 2 billion euros through his alleged under-the-table dealings but says that his arrest in April a few weeks before national elections and subsequent prosecution is purely politically motivated.
“In front of the judge, I will reveal the plot that has been hatched,” he said. “The former leader of PASOK and representative of New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, have formed an unethical front against me with the aim of saving all their ministers and leaving me as the sole person responsible.”
The case against Tsochatzopoulos appeared to be confirmed by his cousin and business associate, Zigras, who admitted to managing millions in kickbacks from the arms deals agreed by the former minister.
“He was not able to take the suffocating pressure under which prosecutors placed him and decided to confirm everything that was put in front of him as having actually happened,” said Tsochatzopoulos, who added that Zigras had suffered serious health problems and authorities had treated him in an “unacceptable” manner.