Siemens magistrate making progress

Investigating magistrate Nikos Zagorianos could begin questioning suspects in the Siemens bribery case as early as next week, sources said yesterday. Zagorianos took over the probe in July after a preliminary investigation failed to find evidence pointing to any wrongdoing by politicians. He has yet to formally question any suspects. Sources also confirmed that Zagorianos is in contact with the prosecutor’s office in Munich with regard to a possible meeting. Zagorianos is due to meet with his German and Swiss counterparts in early September in a bid to gather more information about the case. The meeting is to take place in a country not connected to the Siemens scandal, under the auspices of the Eurojustice agency. 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, a fine of 108,000 euros and suspended for three years. Meanwhile, sources at the German electronics giant denied yesterday that Siemens and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are close to reaching a deal regarding the watchdog’s investigation into the company’s bribery scandal, which has found questionable payments of 1.3 billion euros. «Any speculation that a deal is close are completely unfounded,» an unnamed source told the DPA news agency. The online version of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported late on Tuesday that Siemens and SEC may reach a deal in the fall.