Greece's former minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos guilty of money laundering

Tsochatzopoulos' conviction is the latest in a series of corruption cases involving prominent public figures

A disgraced former government minister in Greece has been found guilty of money laundering.

Akis Tsochatzopoulos accepted millions of euros in bribes while negotiating arms deals as the country's defence minister, from 1996 to 2001, which were funnelled through foreign bank accounts.

He will be sentenced on Tuesday, though he is already in prison, serving eight years for submitting false tax declarations to hide his huge and ill-gotten wealth. Money laundering carries a sentence of five to 20 years in jail.

Tsochatzopoulos - who served as a minister in several Greek Socialist governments over 30 years - last served as a minister in 2004, and retired from politics in 2009.

Also found guilty were 16 of his 18 co-defendants - including his wife, ex-wife and daughter - who helped launder the bribes. The two others were cleared.

Tsochatzopoulos, 74, nearly became prime minister in 1996, narrowly losing a PASOK leadership contest while the party was in office.

His conviction is the latest in a series of corruption cases involving prominent public figures. Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, former mayor of Thessaloniki, was jailed for embezzlement in February.

The apparently permissive culture among the country's elite has fuelled anger among voters, who still face punishing austerity measures.

Comments