NEWS

MPs to meet Christoforakos?

The head of the parliamentary committee investigating the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal, Sifis Valyrakis, yesterday played down the possibility that MPs from the panel will be able to get answers from former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos when they travel to Germany to meet him later this week. German authorities last year turned down a Greek request for Christoforakos to be extradited to Greece to face questioning in connection to allegations that he operated a network of slush funds which he used to bribe public officials and politicians. Now members of the parliamentary committee are hoping to do what the Greek judiciary failed to and speak to Christoforakos in person. But Valyrakis stressed to fellow members of the panel yesterday that they «should not build up expectations.» State Minister Haris Paboukis has written to Siemens in Germany and warned the company that it faces being excluded from bidding for state contracts unless it cooperates with Greek authorities. It is believed Siemens has stressed to Christoforakos that he has to meet the MPs. The deputies will be accompanied by a magistrate who will attempt to convince Christoforakos to testify in Greece. Valyrakis pointed out that the lawmakers would have no part in any such negotiations and that the role of the current committee was fairly limited. «This committee investigates facts and looks into whether politicians are involved but we cannot conduct an exhaustive probe nor can we take the place of justice,» said the PASOK deputy, whose comments suggest that Parliament will hold a preliminary judicial inquiry once the committee winds up its probe.