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Another two former defence ministers are under investigation for bribery

14 November 2012 / 14:11:36  GRReporter
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The series of judicial inquiries relating to the purchase of equipment for the Greek army continues. Media publications about the great amounts that were paid for the purchase of the "Apache" military helicopters when PASOK’s Yiannos Papantoniou was at the helm of the defence ministry have provoked the intervention of the director of the Athens prosecutor’s office, Panagiota Fakou.

According to an article on zougla.gr, she has ordered an investigation for the purchase of the helicopters from the American company "Boeing" in August 2003 for the sum of 593 million dollars. The publications claim that the sale was made through a swap contract (a contract for the exchange of a series of future payments, under which the amount of future payments is unknown to at least one of the parties) signed with the German Deutsche Bank. As a result, the price of the helicopters reached 663 million dollars. According to commentators, the two parties had preferred this method of payment in order to avoid the inclusion of the contract in official government documents.

The prosecutor’s office will investigate whether Deutsche Bank had actually withheld a commission of 70 million dollars. It is also questionable whether the Greek state had really paid 40% of the amount earlier than the term stipulated in the contract. As stated in the publications that have initiated the investigation, the Greek side had paid more than 237 million dollars in October 2003, although the contract explicitly stated that the first instalment should be deposited in 2007.

Besides Yiannos Papantoniou, the next defence minister this time in the New Democracy government, Spilios Spiliotopoulos, has also fallen under the magnifying glass of the prosecutor’s office.

Former defence minister in the period March 2004 - February 2006, Spilios Spiliotopoulos
 
According to sources, the two former ministers and the wife of Yiannos Papantoniou will be investigated for their involvement in not so clean and complicated cases of military equipment purchases. At the same time, the Financial and Economic Crime Unit is already investigating their bank accounts. Evidence suggests that the names of Yiannos Papantoniou and Spilios Spiliotopoulos appear also on the lists of politicians who have been under investigation in recent years. The same lists were initially sent to the Finance Minister and then to the prosecutor’s office.

Former defence minister in the period 2001 – 2003, Yiannos Papantoniou

The investigation is expected to continue for some time, mostly because of the complexity of the content of the pre-trial cases. The amounts paid in the last 10 years in the form of bribes for the purchase of military equipment are particularly high. Meanwhile, investigators must unravel the network of fictitious individuals and offshore companies as, according to the data, the "black" political money had been sent to their bank accounts.

Sources claim that besides the investigation against Akis Tsohatzopoulos and the two new ones against his successors in the Defence Ministry, Yiannos Papantoniou and Spilios Spiliotopoulos, at least five more inspections of cases of misappropriation in the purchase of military equipment are being carried out.

The most indicative is the case with the "Leopard 2" battle tanks. Nine years after the first hearing of the case, huge amounts of bribes have been revealed. The review of the case has been initiated by the data that the former chief secretary on issues of military equipment, Evangelos Vasilakos, has submitted to the judiciary. In his testimony to the economic prosecutor Grigoris Peponis he unfolded the "map" of bribes received under the arms programmes of the defence ministry.

Tags: PoliticsFormer ministersInvestigationBribesMilitary equipment
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