Pressure mounts on Siemens suspect

Judicial authorities increased the pressure on former Siemens Hellas financial manager Christos Karavelas to return from Germany by freezing his assets yesterday amid speculation that his lawyer was trying to negotiate a plea bargain. Karavelas has already seen his wife and one of his daughters remanded in custody this week and two other daughters released on bail. Yesterday, magistrate Nikos Zagorianos ordered the seizure of all of Karavelas’s assets in Greece. This includes property in the affluent northern Athens suburb of Ekali, on the islands of Paros, Antiparos, Santorini and Myconos and in the winter resort of Arachova. The magistrate also ordered the confiscation of 200,000 euros that Karavelas had in a Eurobank savings account, along with jewelry that had been placed in safety deposit boxes. This development means it is highly unlikely that Karavelas’s two daughters who have been bailed will be able to come up with the 2 million euros that is needed to prevent them from being remanded in custody on Tuesday. However, sources close to Karavelas said that he is not thinking about making an immediate return to Greece, although they did not rule out the possibility of him being back in Athens next week. Karavelas’s lawyer Yiannis Markoulakos met with Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas yesterday, fueling speculation that the former Siemens executive is seeking some kind of deal, but the attorney denied this was the case. «Mr Karavelas is not negotiating with German or Greek authorities,» said Markoulakos. «He regrets all the problems he has caused his family, but not the way he has chosen to defend himself.» According to Sanidas, the lawyer had asked for the investigation to be assigned to another magistrate.