Ex-Minister Offers Bribe Return

ATHENS – Asking for leniency, former Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis has offered to returned 230,000 euros he received from Siemens in a widespread bribery scandal.

Mantelis said he wants to use a new law put forth by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ coalition government that allows those convicted of a number of criminal charges to get lesser sentences if they turn over ill-gotten gains.

A 20-year-old jail term, for instance, can be brought down to three years under the legislation but it doesn’t apply to serving or former officials so the court will have to decide whether Mantelis gets a break for return his bribe.

He is standing trial with four others – his best man Giorgos Tsougranis, tax official Antonia Markou, former Siemens executive Ilias Georgiou and ex-aide Aristides Mantas. The money was allegedly paid to Mantelis after Siemens secured the so-called 8002 contract to digitize OTE telecom’s network in 1997.