Public convinced Siemens bribed

Almost nine in 10 Greeks believe that politicians and political parties received bribes from German electrical and engineering giant Siemens, as an investigation into the alleged under-the-table payments continues. The Public Issue poll found that 87 percent of respondents are convinced that Siemens paid Greek politicians bribes to secure state contracts. More than seven in 10 believe that PASOK and New Democracy benefited from the alleged kickbacks. Only 11 percent believe that all the parties are implicated. 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. The company’s former head of telecommunications, Prodromos Mavridis, is one of three Siemens Hellas executives being investigated. Kathimerini discovered yesterday that 20.9 million euros had been sent to his account between December 17, 2004, and January 28, 2006. The money was paid into Mavridis’s account with French bank Societe General but the bank did not inform Greek authorities which investigate money laundering, until the officials themselves asked for more information about the payments in December 2006. Three Greek prosecutors are due to head to Switzerland and Germany to collect more information about the alleged transfers of money between those countries and Greece that could point to illegal payments to local politicians.