Former Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis has offered to returned 230,000 euros he received from Siemens in return for a more lenient sentence in his bribery trial, which began Tuesday.
Mantelis asked to make use of a recent law that allows defendants to hand over money earned from corrupt activities so their sentences can be reduced. A 20-year-old jail term, for instance, can be brought down to three years under the legislation. However, the rules are not meant to apply to serving or former officials so the court will have to decide whether Mantelis receive a more lenient sentence.
He is standing trial with four others – his best man Giorgos Tsougranis, tax official Antonia Markou, former Siemens executive Ilias Georgiou and ex-aide Aristides Mantas. The money was allegedly paid to the former minister after Siemens secured the so-called 8002 contract to digitize OTE telecom’s network in 1997.