New ruling complicates Siemens saga

An appeals court in Munich yesterday ruled in favor of a second arrest warrant issued by Greek authorities seeking the extradition of the former CEO of Siemens Hellas, Michalis Christoforakos, this time in connection with charges relating to a 250-million-euro security contract for the Athens Olympics in 2004. Yesterday’s ruling came just a few days after Germany’s top constitutional court overturned two earlier decisions by a German appeals court and a public prosecutor to extradite Christoforakos. These decisions pertained to a different arrest warrant issued against the former executive, who is also accused of managing millions of euros in slush fund money allegedly used to bribe Greek politicians and public officials. In yesterday’s ruling, the German appeals court judges concluded that Christoforakos had fraudulently claimed to Greek authorities that Siemens was in a position to create a security system for the Olympics, even though he was fully aware that this was not the case. A spokesperson for Germany’s general public prosecutor’s office told Kathimerini: «The point is not what Siemens has done but what Christoforakos has done.» Yesterday’s appeals court decision, which was accompanied by an order to extend Christoforakos’s stay in German custody, is not irrevocable. Christoforakos’s lawyer Stefan Kursawe told Kathimerini yesterday that his client would appeal against it, as he had done with the earlier rulings. Nevertheless the move is likely to have cheered authorities during the pre-election period, as it reignites hope that Christoforakos may eventually be returned to Greece for trial.