De­fense kick­backs probe gath­er­ing pace

Pros­e­cu­tors get­ting close to key of­fi­cials who signed off on deals a decade ago

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Searches over the past few days at the Athens home of busi­ness­man Thomas Li­ak­ounakos and the Mu­nich of­fices of Krauss-Maf­fei Weg­mann (KMW) have turned up doc­u­ments, com­puter hard drives and other ev­i­dence in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by pros­e­cu­tors into the al­leged pay­ment of mil­lions of euros in bribes to Greek of­fi­cials for the sale of tanks, he­li­copters and other de­fense sup­plies, Kathimerini un­der­stands.

Pros­e­cu­tors ap­pear to have made progress in their probe into the key play­ers who sealed deals, par­tic­u­larly as re­gards the pur­chase of Leopard tanks and Apache he­li­copters.

Li­ak­ounakos is al­leged to have been in­stru­men­tal in clinch­ing many deals.

On the po­lit­i­cal level, the probe is fo­cus­ing on as­so­ciates close to Yian­nos Pa­pan­to­niou, who was de­fense min­is­ter from 2001 to 2004. Pros­e­cu­tors have asked for ac­cess to sev­eral bank ac­counts and are await­ing the out­come of checks on that of Pa­pan­to­niou’s brother-in­law, Gior­gos Kan­dalepas. The lat­ter is be­ing probed for al­legedly de­posit­ing 1.5 mil­lion euros into the ac­count of Stavroula Kourakou, Pa- pan­to­niou’s wife.

Mean­while, An­to­nis Kan­tas, an ex gen­eral sec­re­tary for pro­cure­ments who has ad­mit­ted to re­ceiv­ing bribes from for­eign arms firms, was given con­di­tional re­lease from cus­tody late on Fri­day after post­ing 200,000 euros in bail. He is said to have iden­ti­fied re­cip­i­ents of kick­backs. Kan­tas him­self has re­turned 15 mil­lion euros in kick­backs.

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