Siemens suspects wait for files

Two suspects in the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal were yesterday given until tomorrow to prepare their cases even though court clerks are still furiously photocopying the contents of the case files, which the pair has requested. Former Siemens Hellas executive Ilias Georgiou and OTE telecom’s former deputy managing director Giorgos Skarpelis have been in custody since Friday and have since demanded, as they are legally entitled, a complete copy of all the evidence and documents that have been collected as part of the investigation. However, during the probe, which began in the wake of the Athens Olympics in 2004, 14 boxes of documents have been accumulated. Five court clerks have been photocopying the papers since Saturday but had not completed the task, which is expected to cost 13,000 euros for each set of papers, by yesterday. Magistrate Nikos Zagorianos’s decision to ask the two suspects to appear in court tomorrow means that they and their lawyers will not have had time to see all the documents. The wrangle over the copies of the case file is the latest blow to the Siemens investigation, which was seriously undermined in the past two weeks when two of the key suspects appeared to flee to Germany to avoid prosecution. Greek authorities yesterday issued an international arrest warrant for one of the suspects, former general manager of Siemens Hellas Christos Karavelas. An internal investigation was also launched at the Foreign Ministry to determine why officials there had delayed telling their Justice Ministry counterparts that Uruguayan authorities had informed them Karavelas had transferred a large amount of money to the Latin American country. Meanwhile, police sources in Germany told Kathimerini that they have yet to place former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos on a wanted list because Greek officials have failed to respond to points on the warrant for his arrest that need to be clarified.