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64 suspects to stand trial for SIEMENS/OTE €70m bribes scandal; among them 13 Germans

Ten years after the discovery of the scandal and judges have finally took the decision to refer 64 suspects to stand trial over bribes paid by German giant SIEMENS to secure a public contract. Among the 64 suspects are 13 German nationals, executives of the parent company. According to the judges decision SIEMENS has allegedly paid bribes of estimated €70 million to secure a contract and digitize the network of then Greek Public Telecommunications System OTE. The contract “Convention 8002” was signed in 1997.

Among the suspects is also the former powerful man of SIEMENS HELLAS Michalis Christoforakos, who escaped to Germany and authorities there refused to extradite him to Greece’s previous requests.

The 13 German names mentioned refer to former executives of the parent company and former executives of OTE.

The charges refer to “money laundering”, “active and passive bribery” and “accomplishment to such actions.”

Theodoros Tsoukatos, the former consultant of former Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, is also on the suspects’ list. “Tsoukatos appears to have distributed 1 million Deustche Mark and has maintained that the funds ended up in PASOK’s accounts.”*

Others suspects  include top officers of the Siemens’ Greek subsidiary, as well as German nationals who are said to have approved payments and bribes to Greece.

In their decision, the judges acquit 80 people of the charges.

In November 2014, the
Financial prosecutor had sent his 2,368-page report to a council of judges to make the final decision on whether the suspects should stand trial over the so-called Contract 8002, for Siemens to digitize OTE telecom’s network. The suspects are said to include 19 Siemens and 14 OTE telecom executives. It is alleged that nearly 70 million euros in bribes were paid to secure the deal.

The only Greek politician to have been convicted in connection with the scandal is ex-Transport Minister Tasos Mantelis, who was given a three-year suspended prison sentence in 2011 after being found to have accepted payments of 450,000 Deutsche Marks (230,000 euros) from Siemens between 1998 and 2000.

Suspects list here

* an explanation similar to Schaeuble’s explanation the cheque of 100,000 DM he received by arms-dealer Schreiber had ended in CDU’s accounts … A cheque that cost Schaeuble the chair of becoming German Chancellor.

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12 comments

  1. This is really some bad theater.

    Have you ever heard of the statutes of limitations?

    You want to pursue a case which is already 10 years old and win?

    Is there a limit to the degree of profound ignorance in Greece or basically all Greeks are uniformed, unsophisticated and needing a complete overhaul on how the judicial system works?

    Sometimes or most of times I am deeply ashamed of my fellow modern Greeks. Shame on them and shame on the Berlin vermin as well.

  2. Dean- are you an expert in Greek criminal law, or just an avid viewer of CSI and Law & Order? The US Embassy in Athens warns Americans that the Statute of Limitations for felony crimes in Greece is 20 years. If that warning is correct, then crimes committed after 1994 can be prosecuted this year.

    Even so, does anyone think that the European Champions of Ethics Justice, Germany, will extradite any of the Siemens crooks. After all bribery to sway a contract from anyone but a German competitor was legal and tax deductible in Germany until 2002. Unless Siemens was competing with another German firm in the OTE case, according to German law, they did nothing wrong.

    But being the resident legal expert, I’m sure you knew that.

  3. I disagree.

    I think you don’t understand the depth of disgust and TOTAL need for change Greeks feel after paying for the crisis for 5 years. 80% of Greeks want a complete new start. This is not about changing governments, politics, it’s about recreating Greece from top to bottom our way and democratically. SYRIZA is in because they represent Greeks and a cleaner way for the country. They have massive support because of what they do, not their ideology.

    Meanwhile these corrupt, self-enriching former and recent public servants and politicians abused their office to award contracts based on bribes, not tender excellence. Who paid? We, the Greeks, paid! And they are still here, with their money, laughing. Telecoms, Venizelos airport, the metro, highways, trains, weapons, aircraft, submarines…as we know now, much was redundant, second rate. And all of it with dirty money.

    This is about the law applying to everyone. About abuse of office, breaking public oaths, and total lack of public responsibility; about an endemic culture of corruption. While throwing a few bones to tax payers.

    What about Laliotis, the King of Corruption? Where is he hiding? These 64 Siemens cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Tzochatzopoulos should not be the ‘token’ prisoner.

  4. Maybe it’s about time MR. Schauble stops talking from a high horse?
    The hypocrisy becomes painfully obvious.

  5. Al F:

    Do you want to read this and then we could continue?

    http://www.transparency.ee/cm/files/statutes_of_limitation_web_0.pdf

  6. T:

    Whether your sense of justice has been violated or not it’s kind of irrelevant.

    Only demonstrated legal competence could restore justice. Not emotions and not preferences. Just pure, hard, top legal talent.

    Of all the things facing Syriza at the moment a pseudo-trail is the lowest priority.

  7. Thanks for the sarcasm; I must deserve it for some reason.

    Once you have the time to look at the table 4 of the above cited publication you will notice that the applicable statute of limitations for Greece is shown as:

    1. Active bribery of official: 5 years

    2. Abuse of public functions: 5 years

    3. Money laundering: 15 years

    4. Passive bribery: 5 years

    5. Trading in influence: 5 years

    6. Defalcation/Embezzlement: 5 years

    7. Bribery of foreign officials: 5 years

  8. This was meant as a reply to Al F.

  9. Dean

    You missed:

    “Greece*”

    “* minimum. extra given if aggravated circumstance”

    Tricky things those asterisked footnotes, but still important to read.

  10. O.k. it talks about an extra 3 years.

    The point here Al is whether the charges have any chance of sticking. Has the public prosecutor’s office done good research and are they confident they could win?

    Or are we to hear for impressionist purposes that a certain key witness is not available or won’t be released by another state so that all efforts get frustrated sooner or later?

    What wins public confidence is winning the case. Not bringing it to trial and then messing it up.

    Please demonstrate Greek competence in such matter.

  11. Dean

    There are two ways to view this. Defeatism or benefit of the doubt. The former leads to the notion that any attempt at justice is foolish, and thus, there is no need to try. The latter would at least posit “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

    As to confidence in “winning the case”, what is the successful prosecution rate of individuals in similar level corporate bribery cases in the US, for example? Few corporate officers or employees have been prosecuted, but rather, the “corporations” have been hit with fines. How many individuals have been charged in the WalMart bribery scandal? It’s been three years since the Libor scandal broke. How many indictments has the US government made?

    It may, indeed, be “theater”, Dean, but at least the plot line recognizes, at least in explicit theory, that it is individuals that commit the crimes that corporations fund. There is no equivalent plot line in American “theater”, where the “corporate veil” allows criminals to act with virtual impunity.

    So the Greek legal system has delivered the equivalent of 64 indictments, possibly just for show. Wake me when the US indicts a mere 6 of the WalMart bribery individuals, even if just for show.

  12. The purpose of the indictment is to name and shame and bring Mr Schauble into the limelight of corruption yet again.

    What I think does miss the point is that this German government is a very corrupt set of forces within Germany; it has been responsible for ‘repressing’ German wages via extensive corrupt agreements w businesses so much so that were there a minimum wage of 15 Euro an hour in Greece, this would be much more than is earned by the precariat living in Germany.

    The multinational corporations, most of whom are US owned, are very very worried about this Grexit stuff whereas the German mittelstand are not. Interesting times