Former minister Yiannis Anthopoulos and three other defendants were each sentenced to a 15-year suspended jail sentence on Wednesday for loan-sharking at the expense of a tobacco producer in the northeastern city of Kavala.
The three defendants, officers of the Namaco company (later renamed Gennet) were sentenced for their lending practices, while Anthopoulos was sentenced as an accomplice in loan-sharking and for money laundering.
The court also ordered the confiscation of the four defendants' personal assets to a total of 7.4 million euros, which was the amount they gained from their activities. Broken down, 1.7 million euros represents assets of the former PASOK minister - including his residence in the coastal suburb of Voula - and the remainder 5.7 million euros that of the other three defendants.
Each of the four was also deprived of civil rights for five years and fined 5,000 euros. Anthopoulos and two of his co-defendants were also banned from leaving the country.
According to the case file, the former minister acted as intermediary from 2002 to 2005 so that the owner of the tobacco company "Odette Petrides" could borrow 17.6 million euros from his co-defendants. The high-interest lending was covered up through the use of fake tobacco transaction bills. For every bill submitted, Anthopoulos appears to have collected 10% of the amount, to an overall total of 1.7 million euros.
The case came to the attention of Greece's financial crime squad (SDOE), which queried deposits by Petrides in bank accounts belonging to Anthopoulos and his wife. Anthopoulos denied the charges and said he was paid as legal counsel in addition to receiving 650,000 euros from a loan Petrides had forced him to accept.