Bribes for submarines reached up to 230 mln euros

A complex system of offshore accounts, under-the-table payments and bogus invoices helped several people, including former members of the Defense Ministry, earn a combined total of up to 230 million euros in bribes, according to documents seen by Sunday?s Kathimerini.

The paperwork relates to the troubled purchase of German submarines by the Greek navy in previous years. Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who served as defense minister between 1996 and 2000, has repeatedly denied accusations of being involved in corrupt deals.

A Piraeus-based company, MIE, is alleged to be at the center of an investigation into payments made to a series of middlemen and public officials. The role of two German companies, HDW and Ferrostaal, is also being probed.

It has been claimed that Ferrostaal, until 2009 a subsidiary of MAN, which was part of the consortium that won the contract in 2000 to supply the Greek navy with four submarines, paid substantial bribes to secure the deal for the first of these vessels. The agreement for the four submarines was worth 1.26 billion euros.

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