Ger­mans ad­mit bribes for subs

For­mer ex­ec­u­tives put fig­ure at some 120 mil­lion eu­ros as par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee pre­pares for probe

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

At least 120 mil­lion eu­ros was paid in bribes by the Ger­man firm that struck a deal with the Greek gov­ern­ment a decade ago for the sale of four navy sub­marines, ac­cord­ing to Ger­man court doc­u­ments seen by Kathimerini.

The par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee that will in­ves­ti­gate the deal, and par­tic­u­larly the role of for­mer De­fense Min­is­ter Akis Tsochat­zopou­los, met for the first time yes­ter­day, as more de­tails emerged about the al­leged corruption in­volved in the agree­ment.

Two for­mer ex­ec­u­tives of Fer­rostaal, the Ger­many firm that was part of the con­sor­tium which won the con­tract, gave de­po­si­tions in Mu­nich con­cern­ing the kick­backs paid to se­cure the deal, which was worth just over 1.2 bil­lion eu­ros.

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments seen by Kathimerini, the first il­licit pay­ment of 32 mil­lion eu­ros was made in May 2000. The money was de­posited into a Swiss bank ac­count but the two for­mer Fer­rostaal em­ploy­ees said they did not know who the re­cip­i­ent was. The ex­ec­u­tives said their main aim had been to win over a “top level” of­fi­cial in the De­fense Min­istry.

Greece or­dered the four Type 214 diesel-elec­tric sub­marines, man­u­fac­tured by ThyssenKrupp in Ger­many, be­tween 2001 and 2005. In their de­po­si­tion, the Fer­rostaal of­fi­cials said that they met Tsochat­zopou­los but did not sug­gest that he re­ceived any money di­rectly.

The mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who will be in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ex-de­fense min­is­ter agreed yes­ter­day to also look at how all the min­is­ters that suc­ceeded him han­dled the sub­marines deal.

Mean­while, an Athens pros­e­cu­tor yes­ter­day is­sued bribery charges against uniden­ti­fied in­di­vid­u­als over the pur­chase in 2002 of 142 trol­ley buses from the Ger­man truck man­u­fac­turer MAN AG. The move will now lead to wit­nesses be­ing called be­fore spe­cific sus­pects are charged.

Chris­tos Verelis re­signed as a PASOK MP in May 2009 af­ter be­ing im­pli­cated in the scan­dal as he was trans­port min­is­ter when the deal took place.

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