‘No dawdling’ in Siemens inquiry

The former top prosecutor in Greece yesterday denied delaying the investigation into the Siemens scandal and, in testimony to the parliament committee, suggested that judicial officials in Germany had been slow to pass on vital information. The ruling PASOK party believes that former Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas actively tried to slow down the probe into the bribery case to ensure that the statute of limitations meant that any members of the previous New Democracy government could not be charged. But Sanidas insisted that this was not the case. In fact, he claimed that for eight months German officials had delayed sending him details about certain bank accounts. Sanidas’s testimony sparked angry exchanges between the PASOK and ND deputies on the committee. «Justice did whatever it could and was expected of it,» conservative deputy Costas Tzavaras said. Meanwhile, sources revealed to Kathimerini yesterday that, despite months of investigation, inquiry magistrates have yet to put their finger on the size of the financial damage suffered by the Greek state in the contracts it signed with Siemens, such as agreement No 8002 between OTE telecom and Siemens Hellas in 1997 for the supply of digital phone centers. The head of the parliamentary committee investigating the alleged bribery scandal, Sifis Valyrakis, said this week that he believes that damages amount to 10 percent of any deal that Siemens struck, as this was the value of the bribes that were paid to secure the contract. This money was factored into what the company charged the Greek state for its goods and services. However, sources close to the investigation told Kathimerini that this was a rather simplistic view and that the true picture could be quite different. Valyrakis wants the State Legal Counsel to sue for damages but, as long as there is no clear indication of how much Greece lost as a resulted of allegedly crooked deals, it makes it almost impossible to pursue such legal action.

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