The long-awaited trial of dozens of suspects in the Siemens bribes-for-contracts scandal began on Friday but was almost immediately postponed until December 15 as only 30 of the 64 defendants appeared in court.
Of the 13 German nationals, all current or former executives of the German electronic and engineering giant, none was present. Also absent was the former CEO of Siemens Hellas, Michalis Christoforakos, who left Greece in 2009 and was subsequently arrested in Germany. A German court refused Greece’s extradition request for Christoforakos who also holds a German passport.
One key defendant, Theodoros Tsoukatos, was present, as were former executives of OTE telecom who have been implicated in the affair.
Tsoukatos, who was a close aide to Socialist Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the 1990s, has admitted to having met with Christoforakos in 1999 and having accepted a payment of 1 million German marks, or the equivalent of about 500,000 euros, on PASOK’s behalf.
Notably, not one member of the government which had been in power at the time of the illicit payments is on the list of defendants.
The trial, which started nearly 10 years after a judicial investigation was launched into claims that the Greek branch of Siemans bribed Greek politicians and public officials to secure state contracts, is expected to be a long one.
One key concern, Kathimerini understands, is that the charge sheet runs to more than 4,500 pages and important documents relating to the case have not been translated into German despite the fact that a quarter of the suspects are German nationals.