Fourteen years after a judicial inquiry was first launched, the trial into the 1997 Siemens bribery scandal concluded on Tuesday with an Athens court finding 22 of the original 64 defendants guilty of a range of crimes, including money laundering. The sentences are expected to be announced on Friday.
The case relates to some 70 million euros alleged to have been paid by the German electronics giant and its local subsidiary to clinch a contract with then state-owned telecoms provider OTE. Ten of the original 64 defendants have died since the investigation started.
Among those found guilty by the Athens court that has been hearing the case for the past three years is former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos, who was arrested in Munich in 2009 and held there for questioning rather than being extradited to Greece. Christos Karavelas, Siemens Hellas’ former commercial director who violated the terms of his parole in 2009 and remains at large, was also found guilty, as were two former executives of the parent company, Reinhard Siekaczek and Michael Kutschenreuter.
Swiss-French banker Jean-Claude Oswald, who went missing in 2018 after violating his parole, was also found guilty.
The Athens court exonerated Theodoros Tsoukatos, a consultant to former prime minister Kostas Simitis who has admitted to receiving 1 million Deutschmarks on behalf of PASOK as a “campaign donation,” deeming that the statue of limitations has expired on that crime. Commenting, Tsoukatos said he was vindicated after “taking the political responsibility and telling the truth.”
Another five defendants were cleared as a result of recent amendments to Greece’s penal code concerning bribery in the private sector.