The Council of State is to re-examine the out-of-court settlement reached between the Greek government and German electronics and engineering giant Siemens in 2012 following allegations that the company had bribed public officials in previous years to secure lucrative state contracts.
The aim of the agreement was to settle the dispute with the Greek state and pave the way for the two sides to work together again. The coalition government at the time agreed that all charges not relating to bribery would be dropped in return for Siemens paying 90 million euros, investing 100 million euros in its Greek branch, Siemens Hellas, and spending another 60 million euros to build a new factory employing up to 700 people.
However, a taxpayers’ association as well as five individuals acting separately launched a legal challenge against the agreement and it emerged on Monday that Greece’s highest administrative court is due to examine their appeal. Judges ruled earlier this month that 64 people should stand trial for bribery-related charges concerning the so-called 8002 contract to digitize OTE telecom’s network in 1997. According to the case file, Siemens allegedly paid 70 million euros in kickbacks in order to sign the deal.
Those accused include ex-Siemens Hellas executive Michalis Christoforakos, who left Greece in 2009. He was arrested in Germany but a court there refused Greece’s extradition request as he also held a German passport. During his news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for greater cooperation between Greece and Germany on the investigation into the Siemens scandal.