NEWS

Siemens cash traced

German electronics and engineering giant Siemens deposited some 1.4 million euros into a bank account, which was allegedly used to bribe Greek politicians, around the time of the 2004 parliamentary elections, according to Munich court documents seen by Kathimerini. The money was allegedly paid via a Dubai-based firm in three installments between March 8 and April 8 2004 into the account of a company called Placid Blue Corporation which, according to the deposition of a former Siemens employee, was controlled by the former managing director of Siemens Hellas Michalis Christoforakos. Money from this account was allegedly used to secure the support of both New Democracy and PASOK politicians. The ex-Siemens employee Reinhard Siekaczek told a prosecutor in Munich that between 1 and 4 million euros were paid into the Placid Blue account each year so there were enough funds to bribe politicians in Greece. According to the bill of indictment seen by Kathimerini, another employee of the German company has backed up these claims. Siekaczek is due to go on trial in Germany on May 26. Up to 13 people are due to face a prosecutor in Athens starting next week as part of the investigation into the alleged payment and acceptance of bribes. It is thought that these will be current and former employees of Siemens Hellas and OTE telecom. However, sources have suggested that there may be enough evidence to force three former ministers serving under a previous PASOK government and New Democracy officials to face questioning. Siemens is believed to have spent more than 100 million euros over a 17-year period in Greece to bribe local officials to secure state contracts. Siemens was involved in the C4I surveillance system purchased by Greece for more than 250 million euros ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympics. Once the testimony of all involved is concluded, prosecutors are likely to charge suspects with bribery, forming a criminal gang, committing fraud against the Greek state and money laundering. Siemens has allegedly paid hundreds of millions of euros in bribes across the world.