ATHENS – An Appeals Court on Friday returned a guilty verdict for former transport minister Tassos Mantelis and his co-defendants in a Siemens’ kickback case.
The appeals court found him guilty by four votes to one on the charges of money laundering. According to the indictment, Mantelis accepted bribes totalling 450,000 German marks (230,000 euros) from the German company in 1998 and 2000, which were deposited in a Swiss bank account under the name Rocos. The cash, according to the judges, was a gift for awarding the German company the contract for digitising the centres of the state-run telecoms company, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).
Ilias Georgiou, a former Siemens Hellas executive, and Mantelis’ associate Aristidis Mantas were also found guilty.
The appeals court hearing will now continue by examining possible mitigating circumstances that may lead to a reduction of the eight-year prison sentence imposed by a lower-level court. His defence lawyers have asked the court to also take into account their client’s “genuine contrition” and the fact that he has returned the entire sum that he supposedly received to the Greek state.
The court’s sentence will be announced once this stage of the trial is completed. Depending on its decision – and especially if the original sentence is not reduced – the now 73-year-old Mantelis may face the possibility of prison.