NEWS

Germans in hunt for Siemens suspect

German authorities revealed yesterday that they have raided a villa in Munich to search for the former Siemens Hellas CEO who is wanted in Greece for questioning in connection to bribery allegations. The villa had featured in a press report in Greece as well as on a number of blog postings as the place where Michalis Christoforakos had been hiding out since skipping a court date in Greece last month. However, the German police, who broke down the door of the property during a surprise raid, said that there was no evidence that the man alleged to have set up and operated a sophisticated network to pay off public officials and politicians in return for state contracts was living there. Seven people who are alleged to have been involved in that network, in some cases possibly unwittingly, have been banned from leaving Greece pending the progression of the judicial investigation. The seven are suspected of allowing money to be deposited into their bank accounts in the knowledge that it would be used to bribe public officials. However, sources said that there is little evidence to prove that five of the suspects knew that the cash emanated from Siemens in Germany. German authorities said they will continue to look for Christoforakos as well as for former Siemens financial manager Christos Karavelas, who has also fled to Germany. Karavelas’s wife and one of his daughters were remanded in custody last week on suspicion of being accessories to alleged bribery. His two other daughters appeared before judicial authorities yesterday as the deadline for them to put up the money for their 2-million-euro bail expired. The two women, who denied any wrongdoing, were informed that no further action would be taken pending a meeting of a council of judges to decide whether the size of the set bail was fair.