Siemens probe hurting parties

New Democracy and PASOK are finding it difficult to devise a strategy to escape the shadow cast by the Siemens scandal because of the flow of new revelations, which are set to continue when lawyers, appointed by the German firm to investigate claims of bribery, are set to arrive in Greece later this month. Sunday’s Kathimerini learnt that the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm will send representatives to Athens on July 21 to further investigate the deals that were sealed by Siemens in Greece over the last few years amid allegations that some state contracts were secured thanks to substantial under-the-table payments. The US lawyers are expected to interview members of staff at Siemens in connection to several deals as they try to establish whether there is a money trail between the firm and Greek politicians. Both main parties find themselves mired because of the scandal and the allegations that have implicated members of ND and PASOK. Sources said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is looking at ways to disentangle his party from the affair and make a fresh start from September. But he is troubled by the fact that new aspects to the case keep emerging. Having also presented the bulk of their reformist agenda, the conservatives are also looking for ways in which they can return from the summer lull, when Parliament also operates on a reduced scale, with fresh ideas that could catch the public’s imagination. Also, PASOK leader George Papandreou has to decide whether he will continue to go on the offensive over the Siemens affair with calls for a parliamentary investigative committee to be set up. Some people inside the Socialist party fear that this could backfire on PASOK if it becomes further embroiled in allegations that its members were involved in corrupt exchanges with Siemens when they were in government.