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Bribes for defective submarines have reached 62 million euro

19 January 2014 / 17:01:51  GRReporter
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Former close associate of Akis Tsochatzopoulos Yiannis Beltsios has been accused of bribery and legalization of proceeds of crime, and following his testimony to investigators against corruption Ioanis Stavropoulos and Gabriel Malisse, he was arrested.

The testimony of the accused includes 60 pages in which he denies bribery and money laundering, and claims that no amount has been discovered in his account. He says that the only relationship that he has had with Ferostaal was collaboration for the provision of consultancy services in 2003. The "treasurer" of Akis Tsochatzopoulos argues that this collaboration brought him 300,000 Deutsche Marks, which he has declared and taxed according to the law. "Why would they give me money in suitcases when I had a contract with them," he asks and says that he has not been involved in political and trade union life for years. He denied his relationship with the former minister: "You can check the archives of the Ministry of Defence, where information of visitors is kept and you will see that I have never met Akis".

The accused has played a central role in the transfer of illegal remuneration in the affair of armament programmes. According to the indictment which also contains information from the German judicial authorities, he belonged to a group of people who received and distributed the money. This group divided the money from weapon-producing companies among people who, because of their positions, serviced their interests both in terms of the choice of weapons and the faster drawing up of supply contracts with the Greek State.

Yiannis Beltsios

What does the indictment claim?

According to the indictment against Beltsios, who was Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior at the time when Tsochatzopoulos was minister, as well as regional governor of Serres, he and five other people were involved in illegal profits exceeding 60 million euro. The charge for the legalization of illegal money is related to amounts that reached 62 million euro for the period 2000-2007.

Data from the German justice make it clear that Ferrostaal representatives claimed that Akis Tsochatzopoulos had recommended Beltsios.

Five arrests for armament programmes

Beltsios has been arrested together with former head of Skaramangas shipyard Sotiris Emmanuel. The same charges have been pressed against him and he has been in custody since Friday. Alexandros Avatangelos, Dimitris Papachristos and Antonis Kantas are also in prison.

Emmanuel is in the crosshairs of the judicial authorities because of the amount of 17 million euro, which he received via his company from the German company HDW. He denies the illegal nature of this amount and claims that the money comes from his fees according to the contract with the German company for the management of shipyards for 4 years. However, the investigation claims that Emmanuel has played a key role as regards the exclusion of the French competitors of the Germans who have also expressed interest in the construction of submarines. It is also interesting that the accused, being a public official in the hierarchy of shipyards, signed a contract via the German company for their management when the HDW Company took up their management.

Tags: Yiannis Beltsios Akis Tsohatzopoulos arrest bribery money laundering equipment programmes
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