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Submarine bribes reached 100 million euros, report says

 New Democracy calls for parliamentary investigation into deal after Financial Crimes Squad probe

An investigation by the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) has found evidence that some 100 million euros was paid under the table to Greek politicians and officials in the purchase of four German submarines, sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini.

The leaked findings prompted an angry exchange between the government and New Democracy.

The investigators believe that numerous bribes were paid before the contract was signed. It is alleged that one of the ways the bill was inflated, allowing for more under-the-table payments to be made, was for the navy and Defense Ministry to ask for the submarines to be fitted with all sorts of extra equipment.

Politicians, civil servants, military officials and middlemen are thought to have been paid off as part of the deal. Sources said that probes into the bank accounts of some Greek shipyard unionists also revealed money that was unaccounted for.

Last week, a prosecutor called 37 people to answer questions about bribery allegations. Greece ordered the Type 214 diesel-electric submarines, manufactured by ThyssenKrupp in Germany, between 2001 and 2005 but the deal, worth 1.26 billion euros, was plagued by complications after Greece rejected the first submarine due to technical problems.

New Democracy demanded that Parliament launch its own inquiry into the claims. “The continuous revelations confirm the widespread pillaging of public money but the government does not dare to take the initiative to ensure that this scandal is investigated by Parliament,” said the conservative party’s spokesman Yiannis Michelakis, who pointed out that the procurements had been made when PASOK was in power.

Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said that Michalakis was “knocking at an open door” as SDOE’s final report was immediately sent to a prosecutor.

ekathimerini.com , Sunday March 27, 2011 (23:00)  
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