“The contract was an extension of a deal signed by former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos who is currently serving jail term for laundering of money allegedly deriving from kickbacks for lucrative defense contracts…. “
German arms manufacturer fined €37m for Greek bribes
Rheinmetall bribed officials over Greek army defence contract
German armaments and car parts conglomerate Rheinmetall has been fined €37 million after a subsidiary bribed Greek officials to buy a €150 million air defence system.
The fine is the first of its kind imposed on a German armaments company and comes amid a wider investigation into one of Germany’s most influential and secretive industries.
The case involves a deal brokered a decade ago by Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (RDE), a Bremen-based subsidiary of the Düsseldorf concern, to sell an “Asrad” air-defence system to the Greek army for €150 million. Central to the deal was a Greek middle man and former Greek marine officer named Papagiotis Efstathiou.
Mr Efstathiou admitted to German investigators using RDE money to make regular payments between 1998 and 2011 to ministerial and military officials in Athens.
news/world/europe/german-arms- manufacturer-fined-37m-for- greek-bribes-1.2034844
The Golden Scold Award to Germany and Chancellor Andrea Merkel for lecturing the Greeks on profligate spending and forcing Athens to swallow crippling austerity measures, while at the same time bribing Greek military officials to spend billions of dollars on useless weapons.
According to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, arms dealers—mostly German, but also French, Swedish, and Russian—handed out close to $3 billion in bribes to secure $68 billion in weapons contracts over the next decade. One arms dealer dropped off a suitcase with over $800,000 in it at the Greek Arms Ministry.
Athens spent $2.3 billion to buy 170 German Leopard II tanks, which are largely useless for fighting in Greek terrain. In any case, the tanks were sent without any ammunition (although this past August The Greek Defense Ministry coughed up $69.9 million to buy ammunition from the German company Rheinmetall)
The Greeks also paid more than $4 billion to purchase German submarines that are still in dry dock, and, from all accounts, are very noisy. It is not good to be noisy in the silent service. According to Der Spiegel, the German company that makes the U-214 shelled out over $2 million in bribes to land the contract.
In the meantime, the austerity policies forced on Greece by the “troika” of international lenders—the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and the European Union—has impoverished millions of people and driven the unemployment rate to over 20 percent (50 percent for those under 25). Since 2008, Greek infant mortality has risen 21 percent and child mortality is up 43 percent. Suicides are up 45 percent.
In exchange for the military spending, the Greeks got submarines that sit on the land, tanks they can’t use, and lectures from Merkel about saving money.
Getting to the depths of the bribes for submarines scandal
Associate of former defence minister accused of paying over €65.5m in bribes for German subs
Yiannis Beltsios (63), an associate of former defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, is accused of handing over German bribes totalling €63,192,691 and 2,960,225 Swiss francs to Tsochatzopoulos and to Sotiris Emmanouil (61), the former chairman of Hellenic Shipyards
One of the two men arrested on Monday on accusations of involvement in a massive corruption and kickbacks scandal relating to the procurement of four German submarines for the Greek navy in the last decade is accused of handing over about €65.5m in bribes to Greek officials, including a former defence minister, according to the indictment against him.
Early on Monday, police arrested Yiannis Beltsios (63), an associate of the former minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who was jailed for 20 years in October for money-laundering and taking kickbacks for armaments procurement.
According to people familiar with the case, the indictment against Beltsios accuses him of the felonies of active corruption and money laundering.
Specifically, it states that, together with two foreign nationals (a German and an Armenian citizen) and three Greek nationals (Alexandros Avatangelos and Michail Matantos, both of whom have already been charged, and another person), he handed over German bribes totalling €63,192,691 and 2,960,225 Swiss francs to Tsochatzopoulos and to Sotiris Emmanouil (61), the former chairman of Hellenic Shipyards at Skaramagas, outside Athens.
Emmanouil was also arrested on Monday morning, after anticorruption investigators, who have heard explosive testimony about the submarine deals from a number of people in recent weeks, issued warrants for the two, who they suspected would attempt to escape justice.
The Wall Street Journal
Updated July 10, 2010 12:01 a.m. ET
(Please see Corrections and Amplifications below.)
ATHENS—As Greece slashes spending to avoid default, it hasn’t moved to skimp on one area: defense.
The deeply indebted Mediterranean nation, whose financial crisis roiled the global financial system this year, is spending more than a billion euros on two submarines from Germany.
It’s also looking to spend big on six frigates and 15 search-and-rescue helicopters from France. In recent years, Greece has bought more than two dozen F16 fighter jets from the U.S. at a cost of more than €1.5 billion.
Greece’s deputy prime minister, Theodore Pangalos, said during an Athens visit in May by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he felt “forced to buy weapons we do not need,” and that the deals made him feel “national shame.”
Other European officials have charged France and Germany with making their military dealings with Greece a condition of their participation in the country’s huge financial rescue. French and German officials deny the accusations.
n May, Greece’s economic crimes unit began investigating all weapons deals of the past decade—totaling about €16 billion—to determine if Greece overpaid or bought unnecessary hardware.