New suspect called over defense contracts

Anti-corruption magistrates on Friday summoned an 83-year-old man who worked as a representative of arms firms to give evidence in connection to claims of bribery made by former Defense Ministry official Antonis Kantas.

The pensioner faces charges of bribing public officials and laundering money. He was named during several days of testimony given by Kantas before Christmas. The suspect is expected to face questioning after New Year’s Day. According to judicial sources, the 83-year-old’s lawyer said his client is willing to cooperate with magistrates Gavriil Mallis and Yiannis Stavropoulos.

Kantas, deputy head of procurements at the ministry between 1996 and 2002, told the judges how he managed to stash away some 16 million euros in bribes. He identified the deals for which he received under-the-table payments and named the local representative of German companies Rheinmetall and Atlas Elektronik as one of the men that bribed him.

Responding to a question from Kathimerini and German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Rheinmettal acknowledged bribes had been paid to Greek officials but said this took place “many years ago.”

Kathimerini understands that the firm’s representative in Greece closed his office at the end of August and left for Germany, where he informed a prosecutor in the city of Bremen that the company had given kickbacks to Greek officials to secure defense contracts.

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