ND confident of Siemens innocence

New Democracy is in no way associated with the Siemens bribery scandal, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis insisted yesterday as PASOK leader George Papandreou said that he would banish anyone linked to the affair from his party. «I have nothing to fear,» said Karamanlis, who was speaking from Brussels. He left open the possibility of Parliament launching its own investigation into the alleged payment of bribes by Siemens to Greek politicians once the judiciary has wrapped up its own probe. Karamanlis was commenting on the affair after an aide of former Prime Minister Costas Simitis admitted to accepting money from Siemens for PASOK’s election campaign fund. Theodoros Tsoukatos, who is due to submit a written statement to prosecutor Panayiotis Athanassiou on Tuesday, said on Thursday that he met with the former managing director of Siemens Hellas, Michalis Christoforakos, in 1999 and accepted a payment of 1 million marks, or the equivalent of 420,000 euros, on behalf of PASOK. Papandreou said that he would fight to clear his party of any corrupt elements. «In contrast to Mr Karamanlis, I will fight to clean up this land,» said the PASOK leader.