Sub probe names for­mer min­is­ter

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Ger­man court doc­u­ments seen by Kathimerini name for­mer De­fense Min­is­ter Akis Tsochat­zopou­los as one of sev­eral re­cip­i­ents of al­leged kick­backs linked to the pur­chase of sub­marines from a Ger­man firm a decade ago and im­pli­cate Hel­lenic Navy of­fi­cials too.

An ex­tract from the in­dict­ments brought against for­mer ex­ec­u­tives of Fer­rostaal on April 11 by a Mu­nich pros­e­cu­tor notes, “The re­cip­i­ents of the pay­ments in Greece were – apart from for­mer De­fense Min­is­ter Tsochat­zopou­los – other in­di­vid­u­als who are not known by name and who were com­pe­tent in the rel­e­vant min­istries and authorities, par­tic­u­larly the Hel­lenic Navy, for the con­ces­sion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­tract for the sub­marines.”

The in­dict­ments were is­sued against the firm’s for­mer vice pres­i­dent Han­fried Haun and spe­cial ad­viser Hans Muehlen­beck, who are charged with “brib­ing of­fi­cials in a mem­ber state of the Euro­pean Union.” Ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ments, Haun de­nied brib­ing Greek of­fi­cials but Muehlen­beck al­legedly ad­mit­ted bribes were made. The in­dict­ments were based on the tes­ti­mony of Muehlen­beck and on ev­i­dence pro­vided by Michalis Matan­tos, an em­ployee of Fer­rostaal’s of­fice in Greece.

A fax al­legedly sent by Matan­tos to Fer­rostaal’s Ger­man of­fices on April 8, 2001 says, “With our pow­er­ful friends in de­ci­sion-mak­ing cen­ters in Athens and with the cur­rent state of the de­fense bud­get, we have strong chances of land­ing the con­tract Poseidon 2.” Three months ear­lier, the same em­ployee al­legedly sent a fax to a Greek gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, re­ferred to as “our friend,” in­quir­ing about the dates of a planned visit to Ger­many by Tzochat­zopou­los, then de­fense min­is­ter.

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