Head of Siemens inquiry slips up

The future of PASOK MP Sifis Valyrakis, who is chairing the parliamentary committee investigating the Siemens scandal, is in doubt after it emerged that a leak about a note written by ex-Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos, which suggested a bribe was paid to a former New Democracy minister, appears to have been the result of a gross misunderstanding. Valyrakis is thought to have been behind the leak, which appeared in the press over the weekend and suggested that there was written confirmation of Christoforakos paying money to a member of the Cabinet in the previous conservative government. However, the ND deputies on the committee said yesterday that Valyrakis had made a huge mistake. They said that the handwritten note was in fact an e-mail and that instead of relating to a member of the Cabinet, it actually referred to a cabinetmaker. It appears that the message, which contained the line «give the balance of the 50 percent deposit for the cabinet man» was referring to a payment that Siemens made for some units that were being made for the New York home of the managing director of Faran Laboratories pharmaceutical group Marios Katsikas. The businessman is due to face the parliamentary committee today in a bid to clear up the situation but Valyrakis’s role as head of the panel is already being questioned. «I have experienced these types of cheap tricks before and I know how to spot them,» said the head of the New Democracy MPs on the committee, Costas Tzavaras. «We are dealing with a concerted effort to misinform people which had the aim of harming the reputation of former ministers.» Valyrakis did not comment yesterday but sources said that some PASOK deputies are unhappy with his handling of the situation.