Nicosia - Former Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides was yesterday in intensive care at Nicosia General hospital after falling ill upon being informed by a Limassol District Court judge that he will be extradited to Greece to face corruption charges in the Akis Tsochatzopoulos trial.
Michaelides and his son Michalis are said by Greek investigators to have used a joint bank account to move around millions of euros – believed to be kick-backs in the purchase of TOR-M1 missiles at the behest of Greek former defence minister Tsochatzopoulos from middlemen and arms dealers.
The two have denied any wrongdoing but failed to present themselves in front of an Athens magistrate and a European arrest warrant was issued soon afterwards.
Yesterday, the extradition request against Michaelides senior was upheld by a Limassol District Court which immediately ordered him to be placed under arrest so the extradition procedure could begin right away.
Michaelides’ defence lawyer then asked for a postponement of the proceedings until August 26 due to his client’s “health problems” but the request was denied by the court. It was then that the 76-year-old complained of feeling faint.
He was examined by a doctor shortly afterwards before an ambulance was called and he was rushed away from the court.
Last night he was under armed guard in intensive care after being referred to Nicosia general by a prison doctor.
His son will discover whether he too will be extradited in a separate court proceeding on September 4.
Michaelides’ defence lawyer Stathis Efstathiou has already stated that he will appeal the court’s decision.
He argued during the mitigation hearing that the government had altered the constitution specifically to see his client extradited while he also spoke of a media campaign – backed by some government officials – to also have Michaelides forced to Greece.
Tsochatzopoulos and another 18 people are currently on trial in one of the biggest corruption cases in Greek legal history of which Michaelides and his son have been implicated according to witnesses in the Athens trial.