Siemens clues sought abroad

Greek prosecutors will head to Germany and Switzerland in the next 10 days to investigate claims that Siemens paid more than 100 million euros in bribes to officials in Greece to secure contracts, source said yesterday. Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas has instructed his colleagues to go abroad to collect more data on the investigation being conducted by authorities there as pressure mounts in Greece for the names of those who have allegedly received bribes to be disclosed. It is thought that one of the prosecutors heading out to Germany will be Panayiotis Athanassiou, who began investigating the Greek dimension of the Siemens bribery scandal some 15 months ago. However, it appears that the pace of the probe in Greece has since been extremely slow. Siemens, one of the world’s largest electrical and industrial engineering companies, has allegedly paid hundreds of millions of euros in bribes across the world. Siemens is believed to have spent more than 100 million euros over a 17-year period in Greece to bribe local officials in order to secure state contracts through its Greek unit, Siemens Hellas. Kathimerini understands that Greek prosecutors began the process last week to open the bank accounts of three key suspects. The three Siemens Hellas employees being investigated are former chief executive Michael Christoforakos, former head of telecommunications Prodromos Mavridis and Dionysis Dendrinos, who was in charge of the telecommunications security system used for the Olympic Games. However, judicial sources in Germany told Kathimerini yesterday that the probe into the accounts would not reveal much as several off-shore companies and Swiss bank accounts were allegedly used to move the kickback money around. The issue is due to be raised in Parliament this week with PASOK insisting on the need for a committee of MPs to investigate the affair and the government opposing the idea, preferring instead to let the judicial probe run its course.