Arms pur­chases re­viewed af­ter bribe al­le­ga­tions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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