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Greece chases 'corrupt' Siemens executives

Published: 30 Oct 2012 12:41 GMT+01:00

The Greek judiciary is pursuing the executives of the German technology giant - including former CEO Heinrich von Pierer - on charges of bribing Greek politicians and public officials to win lucrative contracts.

But since the cases have already been dealt with by German courts - either through convictions or settlements - the executives say that an international arrest warrant would impinge on their human rights, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Should warrants be issued, some of the men are planning to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, one of the execs told the paper anonymously.

The case is a reminder of that of former Siemens board chairman Volker Jung, who was detained in Greece in June 2009, and forced to stay in the country for over a year while corruption charges were investigated. When Jung finally returned to Germany, an international arrest warrant was issued.

Though German authorities refused to deport him because he had been cleared of the charges by German state prosecutors, any other European country would be bound to arrest him and send him to Greece if he travelled there, leaving him unable to travel.

A similar fate now faces his former colleagues. Most of the 11 executives have faced a German court and been sentenced. Others, like Jung and Pierer, have paid fines without admitting any guilt, and their cases are considered closed.

One of the executives told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that their appeal to Strasbourg would be based on the legal principle that someone cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

The Greek judiciary is under pressure to deal with such cases, since the crisis-hit country reportedly loses millions of euros of tax revenue every year through corruption. But the Siemens executives argue that such cases could harm the country in the long run, as it will discourage investors.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:28 October 30, 2012 by raandy
Settling the court issues for Germany is not the same as settling the issues in Greece.

The point of double jeopardy really does not apply more like dual sovereignty which should win out.
14:50 October 30, 2012 by lucksi
If I speed in Belgium (or any other country with higher fines than here) and I would have to pay 2000 Euros there, I can not get out of it by paying 100 Euros here.

If you break the law in another country, you should be tried there. Simple as that.
15:20 October 30, 2012 by catjones
Another example of german third-world corruption.
15:58 October 30, 2012 by tedesco
They could take the opportunity and chase greek corrupts and tax evaders.

But they're too busy hunting journalists.
18:40 October 30, 2012 by smart2012
I think they are correct. If Greece is in this financial situation is also thanks to big contracts signed recently with German companies, contracts which were pushed by Frau Verkel (and not to forget the Greek money lost by Deutsche bank in the 2008 US bubble)...

And if someone corrupted Greek officials in Greece, they should be judged in Greece... BTW, I understood from BILD that in Germany there is no corruption.... :-)
19:49 October 30, 2012 by pjnt
Corporations bribing governments happens everywhere. Businesses that do not, do not get contracts and can not compete. Either everyone stops or everyone goes.

I think the Greeks should prosecute these guys. I also think they should shackle their own who accept them. Bribery is a two way street and Greek polititions who pocket bribes should be striped of office, bribe confiscated and a view through bars as a bonus.
21:01 October 30, 2012 by PNWDev
@smartguy

Oh this is great, smartguys normal rant is to tell the rest of us to stop reading BILD. Yet here he acknowledges he reads BILD. I knew he had a subscription.

Smarguy, you are still the most entertaining poster on the Local.
22:20 October 30, 2012 by smart2012
Pnwdev, I do not read Bild, I just look the naked girls it publishes.. By keeping defending it and Verkel, u r the funny one :)
06:02 October 31, 2012 by Daktari
Greece is just trying to do anything they can to make Germany/Germans look bad. Seems like they can only find the Siemens execs that offered bribes. No prosecution for Greek Politicians?

Look, Greece was living large, spending money they didn't have and NOW they have to pay the bill, or find someone else to pay it.

The Germans will eventually wake up to all of this, and stop paying for Europe. Hopefully, it will be before they have no money left to pay.
08:36 October 31, 2012 by pjnt
@Daktari

What you're missing though is that Greeks are spending money on cheap German stuff. They lower the value of the euro, German cars cost less, Greeks buy it with German lent money.

There are 2 sides to this story. Germany is fleecing the poor EU countries while the poor spend money they borrow.
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