“Investigation is welcomed, I have nothing to hide,” former Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in a short statement issued on Wednesday just hours after daily Ta Nea revealed that the anti-money laundering authorities have ordered the opening of Simitis’ and his close relatives.
“Relevant publications focus on slander. And I will respond to the slander after I find out who is behind it,” the PASOK prime minister (1996-2004) added.
According to an exclusive report by daily Ta Nea, the Authority against Money Laundering has ordered the opening of the bank accounts of the ex prime minister but also of former Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, ex deputy public Order minister Evaggelos Malaisios and his spouse as well as the accounts of middleman for weapons systems.
The order for the opening of the bank accounts of Simitis, his wife Dafne and his brother Spiros Simitis, Chrysochoidis and another former official has been launched following media reports about alleged bribes paid for the modernization of 6 Navy frigates in 2003.
A former manager of Thales Group, the French multinational company that designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets. had claimed that he was asked to paid bribes for the C4i security and surveillance system for the Athens Olympic in 2004. Thales had won the contract to modernize the frigates but lost the C4i bid to US companies.
“Opening bank accounts does not necessarily means ‘suspected flow of money’ or that crimes have been committed,” ta nea notes citing judicial sources.
Speaking to Skai TV, Chrysochoidis also confirmed “the bank accounts have been opened, they can do whatever they want” adding also that he has nothing to fear of.
Chrysohoidis underlined that “they (judicial authorities) have for a some time now tried to implicate Costas Simitis, and they are now involving his wife and brother in (more than decade-old) testimony by a former Thales executive, which was interested (the French company) in the C4I (a law enforcement-related contract for the Athens Olympic Games); who was found guilty in France because he (the former executive) could not prove what he was alleging.”
According to ta nea, the Anti-Money Laundering authority has asked Greece’s four systemic banks to send bank accounts data from 2000 until today.
The anti-laundering authority has reportedly asked the contribution of Germany, as Simitis’ brother, Spiros, is an academic who has been living and working in Germany for decades.