Bid to secure graft suspects

Police officers have flown to Munich to liaise with their German counterparts in a bid to secure the return of two key suspects in the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal, sources said yesterday, as a prosecutor banned 21 witnesses in the bribery case from leaving the country. Authorities hope former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos and ex-financial manager Christos Karavelas, who have both allegedly fled to Germany, will be arrested soon. There had been fears that both would try to stand trial in Germany but sources said the Munich prosecutor’s office has so far not shown any interest in putting them on trial. The investigation in Greece will continue with the testimony of 18 people connected to the contract that Siemens Hellas was awarded to install digital phone networks of OTE Telecoms. They are to be called up this week. Meanwhile, a prosecutor issued orders banning 21 people who testified in the preliminary probe from leaving Greece.