PM allegedly ‘tricked’ over 2004 security

PM Costas Simitis was tricked into believing that the winning bid for the Athens 2004 security systems was better than that of the runner-up, claims a former Public Order Ministry adviser who was in charge of evaluating the bids. Alexandros Polymenopoulos, who was forced by then-Deputy Public Order Minister Evangelos Malesios to resign from his post as technical adviser, testified before an investigating judge probing whether Malesios acted improperly. Malesios was fired in mid-April when it emerged he was living rent-free in a flat owned by Athanassios Athanassoulis, a businessman whose Altec company is part of the SAIC consortium that won the Olympic security bid. Investigative judge Ellie Toumbanou on Thursday sent her report to Parliament, which is the only authority that can decide whether someone can be prosecuted for actions committed while a member of the Cabinet. It emerged yesterday that Polymenopoulos testified he had felt the bid by the TRS consortium was better, though he acknowledged that after he was forced to resign, he had been kept informed of developments by the TRS consortium. He said the Public Order Ministry had two committees to evaluate the bids, one technical and one political – the latter headed by Malesios. Polymenopoulos advised the ministry from January to June 2002 while serving at the Defense Ministry from 1998 to the end of 2002. He said he had found «unacceptable» the initial SAIC proposal submitted by an offshore company in Cyprus in the spring of 2002. This improved later, he said, but was still inferior to TRS. «Mr Malesios made his proposal to the Government Council on Foreign Policy and Defense (KYSEA) in February 2003, for the selection of SAIC as the temporary winner,» Polymenopoulos told the prosecutor. «I believe that the prime minister was tricked, because SAIC’s proposal was not as good as that of TRS.» He added that he had «information regarding intervention and pressure so that the tender would be in SAIC’s favor.» Malesios has said he did not take part in any body that judged or decided on the tender. It is worth 254.9 million euros. The opposition New Democracy party said it would request a parliamentary inquiry into the matter.