Former interior minister Dinos Michaelides will discover on Tuesday whether he will be extradited to Greece to face charges in the ongoing Akis Tsochatzopoulos corruption trial.
Michaelides appealed a Limassol District judge’s decision to uphold an extradition request from Greece at the Supreme Court in Nicosia. The former minister is currently being held at Nicosia Central Prisons.
During yesterday’s proceedings, defence lawyer Achilleas Demetriades called on the judges to refer the case to the European Court of Human Rights after he argued that the manner in which the extradition was executed had violated the rights of Michaelides.
State prosecutor Angeliki Karnou contested the claims by the defence describing them as “groundless” before calling on the court to approve the initial ruling.
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 weapons - at the behest of Greek former defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos from middlemen and arms dealers.
Last week, Michaelides was transferred to Nicosia Central Prison from Nicosia General Hospital after complaining of feeling faint and chest pains upon being informed by the Limassol court last week that his extradition order from Athens had been upheld.
Tsochatzopoulos and another 18 people are currently on trial in one of the biggest corruption cases in Greek legal history in which he is charged with operating a money-laundering scheme and stealing untold scores of millions of euros from contracts.
Earlier this month, the most damning evidence yet against Tsochatzopoulos was given at his trial by his cousin Nicos Zigras in which he accused him of accepting bribes for the purchase of a Russian missile system and German-made submarines. Zigras added that this money was laundered through offshore companies that were created specifically for this purpose.
His son Michalis will discover if he too will be extradited to Greece in a separate hearing at Limassol District Court on September 4.
Michaelides’ stint as interior minister of Cyprus coincided with Tsochatzopoulos’ term as defence minister between 1996 and 2001.