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Siemens bribery case

The Parliamentary examination committee investigating the Siemens bribery scandal on Tuesday decided unanimously to write a letter to the prime minister and request that he lodge a demarche with Germany over the case. The MPs say the German government should be asked to instruct the electronics giant Siemens to fully cooperate with the investigation by providing evidence of the bribery in Greece, while the issue must also be raised with EU bodies.
During Tuesday’s session, the committee had a chance to examine two files confiscated by Greek authorities from the desk of a secretary working for the former Siemens executive considered a main suspect in the case, Mihalis Christoforakos. In these were listed the names of various individuals that had received domestic appliances and other electronic goods from Siemens or companies that worked with Siemens.
It also heard testimony from the former deputy public order minister under New Democracy, Panagiotis Hinofotis, and from former interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos concerning the problems arising with the security system C4I provided by Siemens, which they had refused to accept delivery of due to substantial deficiencies that affected the proper working of the system.
The seized files on those accepting appliances and electronic goods included several familiar names, though it was not clear in all cases whether the goods were a gift from Siemens or finally paid for by the recipient. The first or ‘blue’ file contained a summary list showing that either former minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos or his daughter Areti, as well as aides of the former minister, have received appliances and equipment worth 1.34 million drachmas between 1998-2001 and an additional 13,993 euros until 2004.
Also in the blue file were records of a 1997 invoice for 283,000 drachmas in the name of Triantafyllia Daskalaki, a relative of the then General Bank president Giorgos Daskalakis, and a Siemens donation to PASOK’s youth group in 2003 amounting to 15,000 euros.
The second or ‘red’ file contained only invoices related to an order made by ND MP Kyriakos Mitsotakis – who was exposed some months ago for having received 160,000 euros worth of equipment for his two campaign offices in the 2007 elections but later asserted that he had paid for them – and one for 6,252 euros to an aide of former ND minister Dora Bakoyannis.
The evidence in the files was dismissed as “small change” by many of the MPs present, however, who hinted that it was designed to divert attention from the real bribes.
“Company gifts of 30 and 40 euros are pitiful when the real question is to find what happened to kickbacks of hundreds of millions linked to the signature of the contracts for OTE, OSE and C4I,” said ND MP Stavros Kalafatis.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party MP Kostas Aivaliotis withdrew from the committee, saying as he departed that the evidence sent on the gifts by Siemens did not lead to uncovering the real events. “The whole thing leads to a cover-up and LAOS is departing unless there is an intention for full revelation in the investigation of the Siemens scandal,” he said.

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