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Cyprus

Michaelides has until Wednesday to answer Greek allegations

FORMER Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides has until Wednesday to respond to allegations against him brought by Greek authorities as part of the case involving former Greek defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

Both Michaelides and his son Michalis are wanted in Greece in connection with alleged kickbacks paid in the purchase by Greece of Russian TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile systems. Michaelides was extradited there on Thursday after an arrest warrant was issued against him after he failed to respond to a summons to appear in an Athens court earlier this year.

The former interior minister has pleaded not guilty and will have until Wednesday to give his version of events.

He will remain in prison in Greece until then, when the court is due to decide his fate.

Michaelides, 75, is the first Cypriot government or former government official to be extradited to Greece where authorities want to question him as part of a graft inquiry against Tsohatzopoulos.

Tsohatzopoulos, a founding member of Greece’s socialist PASOK party, is facing charges of accepting kickbacks for arms contracts when he was defence minister. He denies the charges.

Greek prosecutors allege Tsohatzopoulos siphoned funds overseas. They say one of his co-defendants has alleged that Michaelides helped Tsohatzopoulos set up bank accounts, and that they want to question the former Cypriot minister about that.

Michaelides denies any wrongdoing.

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Source: Cyprus News Agency

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