Arms purchases reviewed after bribe allegations
Changes to the way military procurements are made are to be introduced by the government, Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday as the probe into a new arms scandal led to one suspect being remanded in custody, another released on bail and a third saying he would return 2 million euros he received in bribes.
Avramopoulos said that the government was working on proposals to “safeguard transparency and to protect the prestige, trustworthiness and national mission of the armed forces.” The move comes in the wake of the former deputy head of procurements at the Defense Ministry, Antonis Kantas, revealing he received bribes from arms firms.
Kantas’s lawyers said yesterday he was returning another 2 million euros to Greece’s public coffers, taking to a total of 9.5 million euros the kickbacks he was paying back.
One of the men alleged to have made under-the-table payments to Kantas, 83-yearold Panayiotis Efstathiou, a former representative of German firm Atlas Elektronik, was released on bail of 500,000 euros yesterday after completing his deposition. Efstathiou admitted to paying bribes but said that he was blackmailed into doing so by Kantas, who allegedly vowed to award contracts to other companies if he was not paid off.
Another suspect, 78-year-old Dimitris Papachristos, who represented the German firm Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, was remanded in custody yesterday after being accused of paying a 750,000-euro bribe to Kantas.