More large deals under scrutiny

The purchase of six Dutch frigates, which cost the Hellenic Navy some 380 million euros, and a deal between Siemens and Attiko Metro, the company that manages the construction of the Athens metro, are the latest deals to come under investigation as part of a political corruption probe. Kathimerini has learnt that prosecutors are looking at both agreements after suspicions arose that the deals were not above board. The latest probes come as the investigation into claims that Siemens paid bribes to Greek politicians continues. A close aide to former Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Theodoros Tsoukatos, is due to answer on Saturday claims that he received deliveries of cash up to two years after Siemens had allegedly paid the money into a foreign account so it could be used for PASOK’s election campaign. Tsoukatos admitted last week to accepting more than 400,000 euros from Siemens in 1999. He said the money was paid into a foreign bank account but then transferred to PASOK coffers so it could be used in the 2000 general election campaign. However, a driver for Stelios Vios, one of the businessmen alleged to have helped set up the foreign account, told prosecutor Panayiotis Athanassiou yesterday that he delivered bundles of cash to Tsoukatos in 2000 and 2001. Meanwhile, PASOK leader George Papandreou is due to hold a press conference today to announce a set of measures that could include the monitoring of private contributions to party funds by an independent body and the creation of another watchdog to oversee state contracts. Papandreou will be seeking to put distance between himself and PASOK’s recent past, especially after Tsoukatos’s admission. The Socialist leader wants to use the opportunity to wipe his party’s slate clean and show that he is not willing to put up with corrupt practices.