Siemens slush paid from 1998 to 2002

Most of the money paid as kickbacks in Greece was exchanged between 1998 and 2002, according to former Siemens official Reinhard Siekaczek, as authorities continue their probe into the corruption scandal. In an interview with Kathimerini, Siekaczeck said he took over the management of funds to be offered as bribes in 2002 and that most of the money had been disbursed by 2005. «I undertook the job without requesting it and I immediately asked those responsible at the Greek company to reduce the commission payable from the figure of 8.5 percent which had been agreed in the contract with OTE,» he said in an e-mailed statement. Meanwhile, the investigation into the scandal involving claims of bribes being paid to politicians in Greece appears to be moving ahead. Sources said last week that special investigating magistrate Nikos Zagorianos is to meet with his German and Swiss counterparts in early September. The meeting will take place in a country not connected to the Siemens scandal, under the auspices of the Eurojustice agency. A Munich prosecutor has also given Zagorianos the green light to question Siekaczek with regard to claims that the company’s Greek branch paid bribes. «In these matters I made sure that I did not know who received the money but even if I did know I wouldn’t name them,» said Siekaczeck, who was recently convicted by a Munich court and handed a two-year prison 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.