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CRIME

Greek telecom reportedly suing for Siemens slush fund secrets

Greek telephone company OTE reportedly wants a German court to force engineering giant Siemens to reveal whether it paid bribes to OTE employees to secure a $1-billion contract.

The daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Saturday that OTE had gone to the Munich court in the first legal action taken by a foreign company against Siemens over a slush fund the German firm has admitted operating.

OTE wants the court to order Siemens to reveal details of an internal inquiry into its activities in Greece, with a view to eventually suing for damages.

Greek prosecutors are investigating the 1997 contract, which Siemens is suspected of securing by paying 75 million dollars to OTE executives. Greek politicians are also alleged to have benefitted from the German company’s largesse.

The Siemens scandal erupted in late 2006 and has shaken the group to its core. The sprawling conglomerate has acknowledged that €1.3 billion ($2 billion) were funneled into various funds used to obtain foreign contracts, and that the practice was widespread across its numerous divisions.

INDUSTRY & TRADE

German exports rise again despite slowdown fears

German exports increased for the third month in a row, data published Wednesday showed, despite fears that Europe's largest economy could soon pitch into recession.

German exports rise again despite slowdown fears

Germany exported €134.3 billion worth of goods in June, 4.5 percent more than in May, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the federal statistics agency Destatis.

The closely watched indicator was 18.4 percent higher than in June last year.

Germany’s trade balance remained positive at €6.4 billion, with the total value of goods imported in June sitting at €127.9 billion.

Exports to EU countries were rose by 3.9 percent from May, while those to other countries rose by 5.3 percent.

Exports to Russia increased by 14.5 percent between May and June, albeit from a relatively low base.

The export figure for June was 40.3 percent below its level in 2021 with trade collapsing after Western countries slapped tariffs on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine in February.

Despite the overall improvement, businesses have reported pessimism about the outlook for the Germany’s export-driven economy.

A survey published by the German Ifo Institute last week showed their export expectations had dropped.

The darkening business climate also suggested that Germany was “on the cusp of a recession”, said think-tank president Clemens Fuest.

The German economy stagnated between April and June, registering growth of zero percent, according to official figures published last week.

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