Briber’s Greek Vacation May End in Jail

By Justin Rood

Sep 14, 2007 1:47pm

A mystery figure in the Duke Cunningham scandal may soon find himself in jail as the result of a luxury vacation in Greece. Thomas Kontogiannis, an international businessman with a criminal history, has admitted to bribing the disgraced former Republican congressman, and laundered bribes from others to Duke through false mortgages, court transcripts show. Kontogiannis pleaded guilty in February to his involvement in the scandal and has been believed to be cooperating with government prosecutors against others. He is free on $1.5 million bond, but surrendered his passport and was prohibited from traveling overseas without the permission and accompaniment of government agents. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. On Aug. 30, the North County (Calif.) Times newspaper reported Kontogiannis was at a five-star hotel in Greece, despite the order. Kontogiannis himself answered a journalist’s call to his hotel room, and referred questions to his attorney, the paper reported. Kontogiannis’ lawyer, Gregory O’Connell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a hearing last week, a lawyer defending a man facing prosecution for his involvement in Kontogiannis’ schemes raised the issue that the businessman, known colloquially as "Tommy the K," apparently jumped bail. U.S. District Judge Larry Burns was taken aback by the revelation. "On no occasion did I contemplate he would be vacationing in Greece pending sentencing," he reportedly said. Since then, Burns appears to have learned more. In an order Thursday, Burns wrote he had "received information from reliable sources" that Kontogiannis "has traveled outside the United States" in violation of the terms of his release. He ordered Kontogiannis to appear at a hearing next Monday to explain why his bond should not be revoked. Kontogiannis, his wife and daughters control several mortgage and finance companies in the United States, and Kontogiannis reportedly has business interests overseas. In 1994, he pleaded guilty to bribing a State Department official in Athens.  Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus