Siemens probe set to widen?

A former managing director at OTE telecom has asked the prosecutor handling the inquiry into the Siemens bribery scandal to look more closely at the role of government officials in the deals between the Greek company and the German engineering giant. Sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini that former OTE official Giorgos Skarpelis informed prosecutor Panayiotis Athanassiou that a contract between OTE and Siemens in 1997, which earned the Germans some 850 million euros, was signed by then Transport and Communications Minister Anastassios Mantelis. Skarpelis argued that he was not responsible for agreeing the deal and denies being a middleman in the alleged payment of bribes by Siemens to members of the PASOK government of the time. A copy of the document seen by Sunday’s Kathimerini indicates that Mantelis signed it after the OTE board had given its approval. The trial of former Siemens executive Reinhard Siekaczek, a prime suspect in the company’s bribery scandal, is due to begin in Munich today.