NEWS

Ex-minister to be probed over defense procurements

A prosecutor has launched an investigation into claims made by the Real News weekly newspaper that 12 military helicopters were purchased at an inflated price in 2003 when Yiannos Papantoniou was defense minister.

According to the report, the Greek state agreed to buy the Apache aircraft from Boeing for 593 million dollars though the final price was 663 million euros as the purchase was made via a swap agreement arranged by Deutsche Bank.

The prosecutor wants to determine whether the 70-million-dollar difference was kept by the bank as commission.

The report also found that the Greek state paid 40 percent of the purchase price in 2004, not 2007 as had been agreed. Last week, the parliamentary committee responsible for checking politicians’ origin of wealth forms (“pothen esches”) said it had asked auditors to probe Papantoniou’s records after a prosecutor told the panel that the name of the minister’s wife was on a list of Greeks with large deposits at the Geneva branch of HSBC.