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Greek Prosecutor Says Siemens Scandal Bribery Cost 35 Million Euros

April 15, 2019

ATHENS – A Greek prosecutor claimed in the long trial in the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal that the equivalent of 35 million euros ($39.56 billion) in bribes were paid to get state deals  to digitize the network of OTE telecom, in 1997, and related contracts.

Eleni Skeparnia said the bribes were for 69 million German Deutsche Marks were paid to various recipients for the so-called 8002 contract to dozens of people implicated in the scandal, most Siemens or OTE executives, said Kathimerini.

The trial, going on for years, is heading toward the end but despite making the bribery claims, Skeparnia said most of the defendants should be acquitted and recommended convictions for only five executives.

The only politician found to have received money was Theodoros Tsoukatos, a one-time aide to former PASOK Socialist premier Costas Simitis, who admitted collecting 1 million marks on behalf of PASOK – an amount he described as a campaign donation.

In October, 2018, Prodromos Mavridis, former telecommunications manager for Siemens Hellas, denied in court having paid politicians from a slush fund to secure state contracts as the long-running saga of the scandal went on.

Mavridis claimed that the managing board of the parent company in Germany had tried to put the responsibility on him fund he said was in Switzerland.

He said he has been cleared in six court court cases of a range of charges from bribery to breach of faith in Germany and Switzerland.

Most of his testimony was about a contract for Siemens to digitize the network of OTE telecom, the state provider, but he said the Greek company didn’t have any losses from the contract, said Kathimerini.

The trial of dozens of suspects in the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal has been repeatedly postponed since its launch in 2016 as OTE and the Greek state seek damages. It took 10 years to even to get to court, common in Greece

In November, 2018, a Swiss-French banker facing charges of money laundering and bribery tied to a Greek defense arms contract deal and alleged to be involved in the notorious Siemens scandal vanished after appearing in a court and cutting off his monitoring bracelet.

The Justice Ministry said Jean-Claude Oswald went on the run and that police were looking for him. He had been in court where his case was being heard but no further details were available. Officials believe he was a key figure in the long-running Siemens affair

The suspect is alleged to have played a key role in securing kickbacks in the Siemens bribery scandal and a series of defense deals including the procurement of submarines.

He had been indicted along with 11 other people in connection with kickbacks allegedly pocketed from the acquisition of self-propelled howitzers manufactured by German firm Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), said Kathimerini.

Oswald was extradited to Greece in 2015 following his arrest in Abu Dhabi and is a central figure in the corruption and bribery scandal between Siemens and Greek government officials during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens regarding security systems and purchases by the national telecommunications company OTE in the 1990s.

Although there is no conclusive evidence, it has been claimed that the bribes may have been up to 100 million euros ($113.69 million) to win state contracts.

Some 64 people were accused, both Greeks and Germans but the major suspect, ex-Siemens chief executive in Greece Michalis Christoforakos, against whom European arrest warrants are pending, has been protected by Germany which refused extradition.

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