NEWS

PASOK wants Parl’t to probe Siemens

Ruling PASOK on Friday submitted to Parliament a proposal that an investigative committee be set up to probe the alleged involvement of four former ministers in the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal.

A total of 103 PASOK MPs have asked that a parliamentary committee scrutinize all the evidence of the case to determine whether the four ex ministers ? former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and former Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis from PASOK, and former Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and former Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis from the main conservative opposition New Democracy — should be held accountable on criminal charges including bribe-taking, money laundering and breach of faith.

Some of the charges will not be applicable as the alleged misdeeds have expired under the statute of limitations.

Responding to PASOK?s proposal on Friday, the centrist party Democratic Alliance, led by former conservative foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, accused the two main parties of colluding in an effort to cover up the scandal ?so that the Greek people never learn where the money went and who got the kickbacks.?

Last month, outgoing Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis ? now Interior Minister ? said that he had prepared the paperwork for the Greek branch of Siemens to be fined following allegations that it bribed officials to secure contracts.

Kastanidis, who was replaced by Militiadis Papaioannou at the Justice Ministry, said Greece was ready to impose a heavy fine on Siemens Hellas. ?All you will have to do is sign it,? Kastanidis told his successor before taking over at the Interior Ministry. He did not give details about the size of the fine or how the fine would be collected. Earlier this year, the government had suggested it was close to reaching an out-of-court settlement with the company. A string of probes has yet to lead to anyone being convicted of offering or accepting bribes.