A former Cyprus interior minister has lost an extradition battle after a court in Nicosia said he would have to appear in Greece within ten days for questioning related to corruption charges against a once-powerful Greek politician who is now in jail.
Tsohatzopoulos, a founding member of Greece's once mighty socialist PASOK party who almost became prime minister in the 1990s, is facing charges of accepting kickbacks for arms contracts when he was defence minister. He denies the charges.
Greek prosecutors allege Tsohatzopoulos, who was defence minister from 1996 to 2001, siphoned funds overseas. They say one of his co-defendants has alleged that Dinos Michaelides helped Tsohatzopoulos set up bank accounts, and that they want to question the former Cypriot minister about that.
Michaelides, who denies any wrongdoing, served as interior minister in two governments up until the late 1990s, and has since maintained a legal practice.
Greek authorities issued an arrest warrant against Michaelides when he failed to respond to a summons to appear in an Athens court earlier this year.
His lawyers had fought the extradition, appealing against a lower court's verdict which said he had to go to Greece. However the ruling was upheld by the Cyprus Supreme Court on Monday, and he has no further right of appeal.
Tsohatzopoulos was sentenced to eight years in jail by a Greek court in March for an unrelated case of failing to disclose the source of lavish wealth and submitting false income statements.
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