Siemens cash ‘traced’ to ex-minister

Another three people were called to testify in the Siemens probe yesterday, as Kathimerini discovered the existence of documents that appear to show that the German electronics and engineering giant paid the equivalent of 10 million euros into the Swiss bank account of a Greek minister in 1998. Former Siemens employees, who spoke to Kathimerini on the condition of anonymity, showed the newspaper a handwritten note, composed on January 18, 1998, which describes how the money was allegedly paid. The cash seems to have been deposited into an account at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Geneva. Former Siemens employees indicated that this account belonged to a minister in the PASOK government of the time who was able to rubber-stamp purchase agreements drawn up by OTE telecom. Kathimerini understands that this note is in the hands of prosecutor Panayiotis Athanassiou, who is probing allegations that Siemens paid millions of euros in bribes via its Greek subsidiary to secure state contracts. Athanassiou is expected to wrap up his preliminary investigation by the end of the month, sources said yesterday after three more witnesses were called.