THESSALONIKI, Greece — The former mayor of Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki, on Tuesday was granted early release on compassionate grounds from prison, where he was serving a 12-year sentence for embezzling city funds.
Authorities decided that Vassilis Papageorgopoulos has a disability, mainly due to heart problems, and qualifies for early release under new laws passed this year.
He served two years and five months of a 12-year sentence, after more than 17 million euros ($19 million) went missing from city funds.
A 67-year-old former champion sprinter, Papageorgopoulos was originally given a life sentence, which was reduced on appeal last year. He denied the charges.
He was mayor from 1999 to 2010.
"I have been treated unfairly," Papageorgopoulos said after his release. "I was in prison for no reason."