A five-judge appeals court in Thessaloniki on Friday postponed until January 16 the hearing of an appeal by the former mayor of the northern port city, Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, against a life sentence handed to him eight months ago over embezzlement charges.

The hearing was postponed after the court convened on several occasions this week but the backlog of other hearings and legal obstacles prevented it from progressing.

Also appealing their life sentences at the court are Michalis Lemousias, who served as Papageorgopoulos's general secretary, and Panayiotis Saxonis, the ex-mayor's treasurer.

Papageorgopoulos served two stints as mayor of Thessaloniki, between January 1999 and December 2010. Together with Lemousias and Saxonis, the three have been found guilty of embezzling some 18 million euros from municipal coffers.