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T.Mantelis: “I’ll Fight to Prove My Innocence”

Tasos Mantelis, the former minister who admitted that he had accepted money from Siemens while he was a member of the PASOK government, appeared determined to remain in Greece and prove his innocence. The former minister reiterated that the money he received was a pre-election donation and denied having committed an offence, claiming that the charges against him lack legal grounds and that there is no evidence. He said he quitted his work in Azerbaijan so as to assist Justice’s work and to be vindicated. The Athens Appellate Council is due to issue its decree within this week. Appellate Kostas Hatzikos has requested the exit ban be ratified, arguing that the embezzlement charges are not subject to the statute of limitations for ex-ministers.
“Pre-election Donation”
Tasos Mantelis testified Wednesday morning before the Appellate Council which held a sitting to decide on the exit ban imposed on the former minister.
Exiting the sitting, Mantelis said he assured the Council that he intended to remain in Greece and therefore he quitted his job in Azerbaijan.
According to the memo he submitted to the Council, the embezzlement charges against him are associated with the deposition of 200,000 marks to a bank account in Switzerland in 1998.
As for the second pack of money in 2000, he told reporters he was not sure it came from Siemens and reiterated it was a pre-election donation.
He also stressed that the bribery charges are subject to the statute of limitations and bear no relation to the contracts signed with OTE in 1997.
He further underlined that, under a law voted in 1996, contacts were approved by a special committee of the Development Ministry. They were then okayed by the Transport Ministry, which was not entitled to negotiate or alter the terms of the said contracts, which had been given thumbs up by the OTE board.
In his statements, Mantelis claimed that he testified to the council exactly what he had testified before the parliamentary committee investigating the Siemens case and stressed that the charges, whereby he was bribed with 10 million marks in 1997, were completely groundless.
(Source: net, ana-mpa)

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