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Commissions played a major role in terms of armament, according to the apocalyptic evidence of Antonis Kantas

28 December 2013 / 19:12:27  GRReporter
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Antonis Kantas’s evidence about the way in which commissions were collected has triggered a political earthquake. Commissions were received in offices, churches, bank accounts abroad, etc. A former prime minister, various ministers and a party leader supported certain defence systems in parliament... Subpoenas to testify have been sent to traders, agents, managers of offshore companies and other businessmen, following a joint decision of the investigation and the Prosecutor’s Office. Some will be accompanied by an arrest warrant.

The retired officer told everything before investigators Gabriel Malisse and Ioannis Stavropoulou and prosecutors Eugenia Kouvelou, Eleni Siskou and Antonis Elefterianou:

"They gave me money in order not to have remarks or delays," said the 71-year-old former deputy director for armament. He named arms dealers Panagiotis Efstathiou, Konstantinos Diafermos, Pavlos Nikolaidis, Lambros Bardzokas, Dimitris Papachristos, Christos Toumbas, Konstantinos Balerbas, Thomas Liakounakos and others.

In his evidence and with the help of his lawyers, Antonis Kantas revealed names, amounts and bank accounts in Switzerland, as well as the route of bribes, which reached 11 million euro. Another 4 million euro that was discovered included bribes before 1997, as well as millions of appropriate investments, according to his statements. He received these at the time of the Government of Zolotas, i.e. in 1989, and according to Kantas bribery offences involve both PASOK and New Democracy.

According to Kantas, there were suspicious deliveries not only during his term, when Akis Tsochatzopoulos was Defence Minister, but also during the term of Janos Papantoniou. He described a case when a representative of a defence company "forgot" a travel bag containing 600,000 euro in his office in the Ministry of Defence:

"... He left it on the couch in my office. When I found it, I went and told him, "You forgot your bag" and he said "I have not – it is for you". When I opened it, I found 600,000 euro... and actually I had no objections in terms of the delivery."

He also explained that he received money via offshore companies which, however, he does not remember exactly today.

A bribe for the submarines

"I was in the Armaments Directorate to the Ministry of Defence from 1997 to 5 April 2002; I was appointed at the request of the then Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos ... In early 1999, Panos Efstathiou, who was a representative of the German company SNT ATLAS, came to my office and told me about the delivery of 214 submarines from the German partnership Ferrostaal - HDW. He told me that it was decided at all levels and asked me to move the programme without delay, and without remarks. He told me that he would give me half a per cent if I did it... I accepted and received a total of about 600,000 euro. The money was deposited gradually and over long periods - about six months after signing the contract, depending on the time when they received payments from the German company SNT ATLAS.

That is why Efstathiou introduced me to Fanis Liginos (a Swiss banker with Greek and Swiss citizenship) who sent me forms for the opening of personal accounts which I signed. He opened an account for me at Dresdner Bank in Geneva in my name (number 8.008.121.0071), as well as another sub-account. The first amount which was deposited into this account was a small sum amounting to 80,000 euro... The account was closed in 2005. Earlier, Efstathiou had deposited money in my account at ΒΑΝΚ HOFMANN in Zurich. The account was opened in 1997 and closed in 2000. Liginos opened an account for me at ΒΝΡ PARIBAS, in which a total of 600,000 euro was deposited.

The “kourkoumpini” offshore account

In 2005, Liginos changed the bank. He went to ΒΝΡ PARiBAS and both Efstathiou and I followed him. In this way another account was opened - I think it was in an offshore zone where contributions which came in 2005 were deposited under the respective name. Efstathiou always transferred the money via offshore accounts.

"Besides submarines, Efstathiou promised me 1.5% of the value of the programme for system management and control of the anti-aircraft missile system STINGER ASRAD, also manufactured by SNT ATLAS. The total cost of the programme amounted to 60-70 million euro. I received a total of 1.5 million euro. I do not have evidence that Efstathiou paid for the submarines either. However, I have the feeling that he had access to the Army General Staff. The amounts were transferred by offshore companies into the same personal accounts which I had at Dresdner, HOFMANN and BNP. After that, I think that Spyros Metaxas opened an offshore account, and I was its administrator...

Illegal fees for a Russian anti-tank system

Tags: Antonis Kantas Ministry of Defence armament programmes bribery
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