Ex-Siemens CEO was tipped off

The man alleged to be at the center of the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal, former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos received a tip-off last summer that he would be investigated, which prompted him to flee the country, according to a document submitted yesterday to the parliamentary committee probing the corruption affair. The document was part of the file prepared by Chrsitoforakos’s legal team in Germany, where he fled, and was presented to the panel by Kathimerini journalist Tassos Telloglou, who has been investigating the Siemens scandal for several years. Telloglou said the notes taken by Christoforakos’s lawyers indicated their client had been informed that the investigation into the affair would be stepped up after last June’s Euroelections. The journalist said that this hastened Christoforakos’s departure from Greece and that the tip-off must have come from the New Democracy government of the time. Christoforakos is alleged to have been behind a series of under-the-table payments to politicians and public officials in the 1990s and during the last decade to secure state contracts for the Greek branch of the German electronics and engineering giant. After being tracked down in Germany last summer, a federal court decided that Christoforakos, who also holds a German passport, could not be extradited to Greece, a development that seriously undermined the judicial investigation taking place in Athens. Telloglou further asserted that both New Democracy and PASOK received bribes from Siemens. He defended a story published in Kathimerini this week, which alleged that former Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis, who served in a PASOK government, received a payment of 200,000 Deutsche marks via a network of bank accounts of friends and relatives in 1998.

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