Money trail in contract for subs
Between 10 and 12 million euros in bribes were paid to officials in Greece to secure the sale of German submarines to the Greek navy, according to evidence gathered by prosecutors in Munich, Sunday’s Kathimerini has learned. German prosecutors are investigating claims that the MAN Group, manufacturers of engineering equipment and commercial vehicles, paid bribes to foreign officials to secure contracts. As part of the probe, German authorities discovered a series of illegal payments to recipients in Portugal, Pakistan and Greece in connection to the construction and sale of submarines. Sources told Kathimerini that the initial evidence gathered from witnesses suggests that the money paid in bribes to Portuguese mediators and officials was «child’s play» compared to the backhanders paid to Greeks. It has also been claimed that Ferrostaal, a subsidiary of MAN until last year, which was part of the consortium that won the contract in 2000 to supply the Greek navy with four submarines, paid 10 to 12 million euros to secure the deal for the first of these vessels. The agreement for the four submarines was worth 1.26 billion euros. According to testimony, the money was paid through a Zurich-based lawyers’ office and a network of offshore bank accounts. The Defense Ministry has so far refused to comment on the allegations but sources close to Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the matter would be investigated once information is made available by the German authorities. Venizelos said last week that Greece would accept delivery of the first Class 214 submarine – ordered in 2000 and known as the Papanikolis – after technical problems had been ironed out but that the government would look to immediately resell the vessel.