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European Commission Says It Has Legal Right To Look Into Siemens Scandal

The European Commission, through its Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, declared that the compromise between Greece and Siemens after the scandal came to light does not restrict the right of the Commission to conduct its own research on whether the compromise was legal, according to European Law. The response of Commissioner Barnier to Chountis’ question, MP of the European Left Party (GUE/NGL), was supported by Syriza.

The Siemens scandal came into light in Greece in 2005 when the German authorities found out that Siemens was bribing politicians to get contracts with governments. Two  high ranking officials of Siemens Hellas, Christoforakos and Prodromos Mavridis, were bribing politicians. Up to now, two politicians have confessed that they were bribed, Tsoukatos and Mantelis, both from PASOK. The most important contracts Siemens had signed with Greek governments were about hospital equipment, telecommunications of the army, modernizing OTE, the C4I security system for the Olympic Games 2004, the third part of the suburban railway and trains for the public transportation system. Christoforakos was judged in Germany, where he was found innocent as most of his crimes have been barred according to German law. After the failure of Greek authorities to extract Christoforakos from Germany, where he found shelter, the judicial turned against Zagorianos, the DA who was responsible for bringing back Christoforakos.

The Parliamentary Commission set up by the previous government estimated the loss at 2 billion euros. The compromise between the Greek government and Siemens was that Siemens would give 170million Euros to Greece, both in cash and equipment, and Greece would stop any investigation. The reply of the European Commission is very important because it leaves a door open to further investigate both the scandal and whether the compromise was legal according to European law. An interesting point is that Chountis also asked the Commissioner whether there is a relation between the origin of the company with the impunity it enjoys, as other scandals of other German companies have not been fully investigated either. The Commissioner did not answer at all.

(Source:, European Commision, Eco-left)

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