Cyprus Mail

Former minister’s corruption trial adjourned

File photo of Dinos Michaelides outside the Supreme Court last year

Former interior minister Dinos Michaelides’ corruption trial in Greece was adjourned on Monday, the second time in 10 days.

Judges moved the hearing to June 10 after defence lawyers said they had other cases starting at the same time on Monday.

The trial was postponed 10 days ago after a phone call claiming there was a bomb at the Athens courts.

It proved to be a hoax but due to the lengthy police search only a few cases were heard.

The list of defendants also include the former minister’s son, Michalis, a Greek couple, and a Syrian arms dealer, Fouad al-Zayat, who is being tried in absentia.

Greek authorities have issued an international arrest warrant for al-Zayat who is thought to have facilitated the purchase of Russian-made Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missiles by Greece.

Al-Zayat is accused of channelling a $10 million kickback to former Greek defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos through Michaelides.

Michaelides is faced with charges related to money laundering a result of bribery.

Greek daily Kathimerini reported in March that al-Zayat, thought to be in Syria, had written to prosecutors denying any links to Tsohatzopoulos and the Tor-M1 deal.

“I have never met him and on no occasion had dealings with him or his staff,” al-Zayat said in the letter, which was seen by Kathimerini.

Al-Zayat also denied any links to Dinos Michailidis

Both Michaelides deny any wrongdoing.

During questioning in Athens last year, Michaelides senior said 5.7 million Swiss Francs found in a Swiss bank account belonging to his son were the product of his son’s business dealings with al-Zayat.

He added that he was not familiar with what exactly the business dealings pertained to.

In his statement in court which was leaked to the media, the 75-year-old Michaelides said his son had given him power of attorney over the account in case he died.

The former minister said it was just a coincidence that the account in question had been opened on December 12, 2000, and he was given power of attorney on February 6, 2001 – three days before the cash was deposited.

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