German rail firm in bribe scandal
Report quotes group saying most of Greek bailout funds went to lenders, investors
A Frankfurt prosecutor investigating graft at Germany’s railway operator has accused a subsidiary of state transport group Deutsche Bahn of paying bribes to win contracts in Greece.
According to a report published yesterday by Sueddeutsche Zeitung, DB International paid up to 315,000 euros in kickbacks to Greek officials over the course of a decade to secure contracts during the construction of the Proastiakos suburban railway, which links Athens to its international airport in the east and to Corinth in the south.
The prosecutor is probing a total of 37 employees, while the company – which has withdrawn from Greece, as well as from other countries that it describes as “corruption-prone” – is also suing 10 former staff members.
Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Monday also quoted a report by an anti-globalization group suggesting that loans to Greece by foreign creditors mostly went toward propping up banks and wealthy investors.
According to the newspaper, Attac, an organization based in France, has estimated that out of the 207 billion euros earmarked by foreign creditors, 160 billion has ended up with lenders and investors.
“Political elites have not been trying to rescue the Greek population, but the finance sector,” Lisa Mittendrein, from the group’s Austrian chapter, was quoted by the German newspaper as saying.
“The widespread belief supported by European politicians that the various rescue packages for Greece have helped ordinary people in the country is no longer tenable,” she said, according to the report.