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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek appeals court has upheld the conviction of a former defense minister on money laundering charges linked to bribes for major arms procurement contracts, mostly in the late 1990s.

The court on Monday upheld the convictions of Akis Tsochadzopoulos, a former Socialist defense minister, and 15 other defendants.

Tsochadzopoulos, 78, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2013 but released on health grounds earlier this year.

Greece embarked on a major military upgrade program following a 1996 crisis that brought the country to the brink of war with neighbor Turkey over disputed territorial rights in the Aegean Sea.

The court is due to announce the sentences later this week.