NEWS

Siemens probe receives a boost

The Greek, German and Swiss judicial authorities are joining forces in order to shed light on the Siemens corruption scandal, as they probe where the money from the German company’s slush fund went. According to Kathimerini sources, special investigator Nikos Zagorianos is to meet with his German and Swiss counterparts in early September. The meeting is to take place in a country not connected to the Siemens scandal, under the auspices of the Eurojustice agency. «This is a very important and unprecedented instance in the annals of Greek justice,» a judicial source said. In Greece, the case is still in the investigation phase, without any individuals having been charged. Our sources say that the cooperation with foreign officials is aimed at Zagorianos’s getting all the information related to Greeks’ involvement in the Siemens scandal. In this way, he will be able to skirt the laborious procedures demanded (especially by the Swiss authorities) in order to get information regarding bank accounts. The initiative for direct cooperation between the judicial officials of the three countries was taken by the Munich prosecutor’s office, which sent a letter to its Athens counterpart a few days ago. The Munich prosecutor has also given Zagorianos the green light to question former Siemens official Reinhard Siekaczek with regard to claims that the company’s Greek branch paid bribes to politicians in Athens to secure contracts. Siekaczek was recently convicted by a Munich court and given a two-year sentence, suspended for three years, and a fine of 108,000 euros. A preliminary investigation in Athens has failed to come up with evidence of politicians taking bribes. Questioning Siekaczek and other former high-ranking Siemens officials is a priority for Zagorianos and he is expected to inform the Munich prosecutor’s office soon as to how he intends to get the testimony. He is also expected to question two other witnesses in Greece by the end of the month – one of whom is a woman who, in the preliminary investigation, provided valuable evidence regarding where slush funds went in Greece. A Cyprus bank has given Zagorianos information regarding five remittances, of a total 1.2 million euros.