Probe into Kathimerini’s OTE report

The chief of Athens First Instance Court public prosecutors yesterday ordered a preliminary investigation into a report by Kathimerini that OTE Telecom allegedly bribed Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) with 10.2 million euros (3.5 billion drachmas) to withdraw a rival bid for a mobile telephony license in Bulgaria last year. According to the report, which appeared last Thursday, the deal was sealed between OTE Chairman and Managing Director Nikos Manasis and then-Managing Director of TIM subsidiary Stet Hellas Roberto Rovera on December 10, 2000. A week later, OTE was declared the winner of the tender for the Bulgarian government’s GSM license. It had offered $135 million, against the $130 million offered by TIM. CosmoBulgaria launched its mobile telephone services in September 2001. On Sunday, Kathimerini published a facsimile letter sent on February 21, 2001 by OTE’s Chief Financial Officer Dimitris Kouvatsos to TIM’s head of international affairs, Elis Bontempelli, setting out six alternative services for which TIM could bill OTE 2 billion drachmas – supposedly one of the two parts of the payment involved in the deal. Yesterday, OTE dismissed Kathimerini’s reports as an attempt to create unfavorable impressions of the company, «without substance and by linking unrelated issues.» «The documents published in the paper refer to efforts to resolve older financial differences between OTE and Telecom Italia,» OTE said in a press release. OTE further said that independent auditing firms Ernst & Young and Arthur Andersen had certified that no payment had been made between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2001 to Telecom Italia other than those related to clearing mutual mobile telephone bills with Stet Hellas. It also said management would assist the judicial process by all the means in its power and reserved the right to use any legal means to protect its prestige and shareholders’ interest.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.