Greece issues arrest warrant for Siemens exec

Greece issues arrest warrant for Siemens exec
Photo: DPA
Greece on Friday issued an arrest warrant on a second former Siemens executive who failed to testify in a graft probe implicating the country's main two parties, a judicial source said.

The warrant for Christos Karavellas, Siemens’ former financial manager in Greece, was issued after he failed to appear in court as scheduled on Friday. Karavellas’ lawyer claimed his client was abroad and sought to postpone the testimony, the source added.

German industrial giant Siemens is accused of bribing local politicians and officials from Greek telephone operator OTE to bag a multi-million-dollar contract before the

Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

An arrest warrant was also issued on May 20 for the group’s former Greek operations director Michalis Christoforakos, who is believed to be in Munich. Greek officials are labouring to have Christoforakos extradited.

Two more suspects, former Siemens executive Ilias Georgiou and OTE’s former telecommunications general manager George Skarpelis, who are scheduled to testify in mid-June, have been barred from leaving the country.

The paybacks scandal rocked Greece for months and both the ruling party of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the main opposition PASOK socialists are accused of taking bribes.

A former PASOK official admitted in June to having accepted 1 million German marks (around €510,000 $720,000) from Siemens in 2000, on behalf of the party when it was in power.

The Siemens scandal erupted in late 2006 and shook the group to its core. The sprawling conglomerate has acknowledged that millions of euros were funnelled into various funds used to obtain foreign contracts, and that the practice was widespread across its numerous divisions.

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