Parliament to probe Siemens?

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis broke ranks with the government yesterday by suggesting that Parliament could begin its own investigation into claims that Siemens paid millions of euros in bribes to Greek politicians. Bakoyannis said that if the current judicial probe into the allegations turns up substantial evidence, then MPs should delve further into the affair. The government has so far dismissed calls for a parliamentary probe, saying that no such decision can be considered until prosecutor Panayiotis Athanassiou concludes his work. But Bakoyannis went one step further, suggesting a committee could be set up as early as this summer. «Greek and German justice must get to the bottom of this case,» she said. «Light must be shed on the affair because it is something that has to do with the honor and standing of this country’s political scene and if a parliamentary committee is needed this summer, we should set one up.» Athanassiou is reportedly looking into evidence that points to an alleged payment by Siemens to a Greek minister’s Swiss bank account in 1998. The prosecutor is expected to ask Swiss authorities to begin the process whereby the details of the account and its holder, who has not been named, can be divulged. Siemens is alleged to have paid millions of euros in bribes to Greek politicians in order to secure lucrative state contracts. Athanassiou is expected to wrap up his investigation by the end of the month.