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Ericsson too bribed Greek politicians

03 April 2014 / 11:04:45  GRReporter
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116 million Swedish crowns or 13 million euro was the amount paid in bribes by the Swedish telecommunications company to Greek politicians. Thus, Ericsson had secured the signing of a supply contract with the Greek government in 1999 as reported by a Swedish radio station. The media broadcast an interview with former employee of the company Liss-Olof Nenzell who claims that "politicians, generals and high-ranking state officers" were the recipients of bribes. In his words, the money had been paid to the commercial agent of the company first and then subsequently, handed out to the end recipients in Greece.

Ericsson refutes the accusations of giving bribes. In its official message, the company states that it had actually paid the money to a commercial agent but did not know what happened to it after that.

"We have zero tolerance for bribes and corruption. At that time we used agents, but we don’t anymore because it is a system that lacks transparency," reads the message disseminated by the international news agency Reuters.

"We know that a payment was made to an agent but we don’t know what happened to the money after that. We really hope that the money wasn’t used for bribes but we don’t know for sure," say the people from Ericsson.

The Greek order was for the airborne surveillance system Erieye and its price was 4.9 billion Swedish crowns (540 million euro). Later Ericsson sold its specialized defence business to another Swedish company, namely Saab.

Chief prosecutor at the Swedish National Anti-corruption service Alf Johansson said he was investigating the case and had asked the Greek authorities for information. He stressed that he was interested in possible crimes committed after 1 July 2004 as those committed before this date would have passed the statute of limitations.

This is not the first time that the Ericsson name is involved in cases with bribes handed out to senior representatives of Greece. Former Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Defence (from 1997 to 2002) Antonis Kantas has already confessed to the receiving of € 11 million euro in connection with the signing of contracts for weapons systems with foreign systems. In his testimony before the court, he mentioned the name of Ericsson in connection with the specific bribes.

At the same time, the company accuses its former employee who made the revelations of embezzlement and has filed a lawsuit against him, requesting him to return the money. Liss-Olof Nenzell in turn denies the accusations.

Tags: Crime newsBribesEricssonGreek Ministry of DefenceWeapons systems
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