“I want to apologize to the Greek people, the voters who supported us, the Greek Justice, and the 12 people who were unwittingly involved in getting the money from Siemens for the party.” Former PASOK official Theodoros Tsoukatos said during his apology in the courtroom handling the bribes SIEMENS paid to the party in 1999.
“I did it illegally, I did not pay much attention because of the pressure of work and the need to bring money to PASOK cash registers,’ he added.
The former official, nicknamed “the general” is being tried for having received a SIEMENS ‘gift’ of 1,000,000 Deutsche Mark, some 420,000 euros.
“The money was given to the party,” Tsoukatos reiterated as in the past.
Regarding the charge that the one million marks were given to employees at the state-owned Telecommunications company OTE so that the German company secures the OTE 8002 digitization contract, Tsoukatos said that he had nothing to do with the contract.
Royal to defense line “I know nothing, I just gave the money to the party,” Tsoukatos said that “funding of political parties by private companies was a standard practice – and as it seems it was funding under the hand.
He admitted PASOK received 16 billion Drachmas (some 50 million euros) in private funds for the elections in the year 2000.
Court President: Which were these companies?
Tsoukatos: I can not name names, there is a code of confidentiality because these companies did not want their names to be revealed. Many of them still fund political parties with [so-called] public relations funds.
He said, one of his big mistakes was that he did not fend off the private funding of parties by companies, which was a standard practice: “But no one wanted and did not
want to investigate the private funding of the parties,” he added.
He said that his former party PASOK made a scapegoat out of him. He said that the party ought to apologize to him.
Furthermore, he claimed further that then Prime Minister Costas Simitis was not aware of the one million DM as he was not dealing with the party funds.
So far there is no reaction by PASOK or whatever its latest name is to Tsoukatos truth that the party received some 50 million euros in ‘sponsorships’ by private companies.
Prosecuting authorities pressed charges against Tsoukatos in 2008 when it was found that one million DM were transferred to his bank account in 1999. The trial of SIEMENS kickbacks has been postponing again and again due to an extensive evidence investigation and the volume of documents and delays to their translation.
Tsoukatos is the fourth former powerful PASOK official facing birbes charges after ex Defense Ministers Akis Tsochatzopoulos and Yiannos Papantoniou and ex Transportation Minister Tasos Mantelis.
“PASOK should not have seats in Parliament but a ward in Korydallos prison,” a Greek commented on social media. Another realized “PASOK is the most corrupt organization worldwide after FIFA.”