Mantelis out on bail ahead of trial date

Former Transport Minister Tasos Mantelis will not be held in custody until he is tried for allegedly accepting bribes from Siemens Hellas, judges decided yesterday, while the parliamentary committee investigating the corruption scandal asked urgently to see another suspect who claims that he acted as a middleman in delivering slush money for the company. Mantelis, who has admitted accepting the equivalent of almost 300,000 euros from Siemens that he insists was not a bribe but a campaign donation, was banned from leaving the country and told to post 200,000 euros in bail but a council of appeal court judges decided that he should not remain in custody. The judges were called on to decide Mantelis’s fate after an investigating magistrate and a prosecutor could not decide whether the former minister should be released. A parliamentary committee is carrying out a separate investigation into the affair and has asked to question for a second time today Pantelis Karacostas, a civil engineer who last week admitted to receiving slush money from the company and then passing it on to someone else. The panel called Karacostas for further questioning after a search of his home, office and a hotel he stayed at regularly revealed evidence linking him with Siemens and the Intracom telecommunications systems and technology group. Intracom’s CEO Sokratis Kokkalis appeared before the committee last week to deny that his company had been involved in the bribery of any officials or that it had colluded with Siemens to win public contracts. However, the deputies want to ask Karacostas about several letters that he sent to Kokkalis in which he indicates that he acted as a middleman for Intracom as well as Siemens in the payment of bribes.

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