Greece plans to exclude German companies Siemens and Rheinmetall as well as Franco-German helicopter manufacturer Airbus Helicopters (former Eurocopter) from public procurements. Furthermore, the new Greek government intends to bring the issue of the practices of these three companies to the agenda of the European Parliament.
Speaking to defense news website Onalert.gr, Alternate Defense Minister Kostas Ysichos (SYRIZA) said that these three companies have to be excluded from procurements due to illegal practices, “the proven fraudulent transactions they have done in order to secure public procurements.”
“The Rheinmetall has been already sentenced in Germany for bribes,” Ysichos said adding that the Greek authorities are also investigate the issue.
NH90 helicopters contract under investigation
Kostas Ysichos revealed that the Defense Ministry investigates the purchase of 20 NH 90 military helicopter ordered from NHIndustries, a company owned by Airbus Helicopters, AgustaWestland and Fokker Aerostructures.
Ysichos said that despite the fact Greece had a downpayment of €263million, (42% of the total amount), “the first two helicopters were delivered in 2011, eight years after the order and the down payment.”
The ongoing investigation refers mainly to possible ‘scandals’ and transparency.
“We investigate the issue and especially the clauses of the contract. They have clauses that protect the manufacturer and not the purchaser. How comes?,” Alternate Defense Minister Ysichos stressed adding the investigation findings are expected to be submitted to the Greek parliament after 20 days.
NHIndustries seems to be notorious in delivery delays and Kostas Ysichos referred to the case of Norway, that “had claimed money back. We will try this as well.”
In 2012, Norways‘ Deputy Defence Minister Roger Ingebrigtsen announced that ” If the NH90 hasn’t been delivered, we will purchase another helicopter…considering that the aircraft were to be delivered by 2005, and that delivery is yet to start by 2012, our confidence in the producer isn’t exactly on the rise.
Ysichos revealed that the NHIndustries is offering to grant to Greece “€20million in outstanding payments for follow up etc.”
“They tell us, OK, forget the 20 millions if you stop… No, thanks we do not want such gifts,” Ysichos said.
Video: Ysichos’ interview excerpt about NH90 in Greek
Greek media wrote that Greece achieved an agreement with the NH90 manufacturer in 2010 concerning the delivery schedule but also a very significant price discount for the hitherto delays and other breakdowns and that ever since, the delivery schedule flow without delays.
We will certainly have to wait for the outcome of the NH90 investigation.
But interdependently of the outcome in this specific case investigation, Greece’s military purchases of the past have be often accompanied by kickbacks and bribes worth several million euro. Former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatsopoulos (1996-2001) has been locked up in prison because of them.
Fact is that the new Greek government of leftist and nationalists have often expresses their intention to go deep into suspicious cases that may have harmed the public interest.
Kostas Ysichos‘ full interview is here: 44 minutes in Greek.