by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, July 2 (Xinhua) -- An Athens appeals court ruled on Monday the release of former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who was convicted for corruption six years ago, due to ill health, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
Tsochatzopoulos, 79, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 2012 for money laundering and receiving bribes over arms procurement contracts during his term between 1996 and 2001.
He was the highest former official to be convicted for corruption in Greece in several decades. Once he vied for the Presidency of the socialist PASOK party which ruled Greece for several years.
The court ordered his release until the Supreme Court discusses his request for the revocation of his sentence, on ground of serious health issues, AMNA reported.
In April 2017, an Athens court approved his release on bail for health reasons as he underwent bypass surgery. But he had to return to jail in November after another court upheld his conviction.
Tsochatzopoulos was found guilty of accepting millions of euros in bribes. A part of the bribes has still not been traced in the offshore companies that he along with his close relatives and associates established.
His wife, Vicky Stamati, who was also sentenced to 12 years in prison for the same case, was released in 2015 as she was the mother of an underage child and due to poor health. Stamati had attempted suicide during her imprisonment.
In November 2017, Stamati filed for divorce.