Ex-procurements official pledges to return ‘bribes’

An ex-Defense Ministry official arrested last week on suspicion of having accepted bribes as part of arms procurement contracts signed more than a decade ago appeared before magistrate Gavriil Mallis on Tuesday and promised to pay back millions of euros found in a foreign bank account.

Antonis Kantas, deputy head of procurements at the ministry between 1996 and 2002, said he would transfer to a specially created account at the Bank of Greece 17.6 million dollars discovered in Singapore and other money authorities had not yet traced.

Sources also suggested that Kantas was ready to name five arms traders who paid bribes to Greek officials but it was not clear if the former civil servant was also prepared to identify the fellow public officials who accepted the under-the-table payments.