The former mayor of Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, has been granted early release on compassionate grounds from prison, where he was serving a 12-year sentence for embezzling city funds.
Papageorgopoulos applied for early release under a new law introduced by the Ministry of Justice that eases the terms of confinement for inmates with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
His request was granted on Tuesday after claiming chronic heart problems heart problems. He served two years and five months of a 12-year sentence over more than 17 million euros ($19 million) that went missing from city coffers.
Papageorgopoulos, a 67-year-old former champion sprinter, was originally given a life sentence, which was reduced on appeal last year. He denied the charges. He was mayor from 1999-2010.
While incarcerated, he suffered a heart attack and had undergone surgery.
“I have been treated unfairly,” Papageorgopoulos said after his release. “I was in prison for no reason.”