Former Defense Ministry official provides damning evidence on bribes

Ex-Defense Ministry official Antonis Kantas completed his marathon testimony on Monday, giving investigators a wealth of information about alleged kickbacks paid to secure procurement contracts as well as the names of several more suspects, some of whom could be called to give depositions before the end of the year.

Court sources told Kathimerini that Kantas gave anti-corruption magistrates Gavriil Mallis and Yiannis Stavropoulos specific information relating to the role of two businessmen in the alleged payment of bribes to Greek officials.

Kantas explained how under-the-table payments were made to secure the purchase of German-made Leopard tanks and Type 214 submarines. He also gave background to the deals to buy the German and Swedish-made ASRAD vehicle-mounted short-range air defense system, as well as the Russian-made Kornet missiles and launchers.

He gave details on how money ended up in accounts he had opened after being transferred from Swiss and German bank accounts. Sources said the retired official also described how a middleman left a suitcase containing 600,000 euros in cash in his office on one occasion. Magistrates already knew about one of the men alleged to be involved as he was a representative for German companies Rheinmetall and Atlas Elektronik.

Kathimerini believes that the man in question is likely to be called to answer questions in the next few days.

Kantas was the deputy head of procurements at the ministry between 1996 and 2002. He has admitted that he received around 16 million dollars that had been stashed away in Singapore and Switzerland in return for helping to agree at least 10 arms deals.

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