Alleged mediators in Super Puma deal released on bail

Two businessmen who are said to have mediated in the procurement of Super Puma rescue helicopters to the government more than a decade ago were given conditional release on Thursday on 250,000-euro bail payments after defending themselves before an investigating magistrate on charges of bribery and money laundering.

Stavros Komnopoulos and Alexandros Tsatsos have denied any wrongdoing though prosecutors believe that some 5.5 million euros traced to offshore firms that have been linked to the businessmen constituted under-the-table payments for the deals.

Of this sum, 1.6 million euros was transferred to another offshore firm owned by LAOS leader Giorgos Karatzaferis, according to prosecutors who have charged the latter with making an inaccurate declaration of assets and involvement in an offshore firm.

According to sources, the two businessmen rebuffed claims by Antonis Kantas, a former high-ranking Defense Ministry official, that he received 600,000 euros in cash from the businessmen as a payment for securing the purchase of Exocet anti-ship missiles.