NEWS

MPs to decide on Siemens probe

Parliament is due to meet on Thursday to debate the possible prosecution of politicians in connection to the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal.

The plenary session will take place in the wake of revelations that the company plans to sue the Greek state in a bid to ensure it will not have to pay damages for alleged bribery of public officials.

MPs are due to debate whether to set up a panel of three prosecutors to find out if any politicians should be prosecuted for their alleged involvement in allegedly corrupt deals with the Greek branch of the German electronics and engineering giant, which is said to have paid millions of euros in bribes to secure state contracts.

A total of 103 PASOK MPs have asked that a parliamentary committee scrutinize all the evidence in the case to determine whether four ex-ministers – of defense, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, and transport, Tasos Mantelis, both from PASOK, and the main conservative opposition New Democracy party?s Giorgos Alogoskoufis, of finance, and Christos Markoyiannakis, who headed the Interior Ministry – 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.

However, the MPs? gathering could be overshadowed by the Siemens decision to take legal action against Greece. The company informed the government that its lawyers plan to file a suit in a Munich court. Siemens denies claims by Athens that it must pay damages to the Greek state for its wrongdoing.

In another related development on Wednesday, a council of appeals court judges cleared magistrate Nikos Zagorianos of any wrongdoing in his probe into the Siemens affair.

Zagorianos had been accused of abuse of power and breach of duty but the judges ruled that he had not done anything wrong and was not responsible for ex-Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos fleeing the country.