Greek Prosecutor Probing Arms Contracts



Former Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou

Four defense contracts worth 7 billion euros ($9 billion) and 85 other state deals are being investigated by Greek prosecutors trying to root out possible fraud, the newspaper Kathimerini reported. The defense procurement deals were approved in 2001 by former defense minister

Yiannos Papantoniou, who succeeded fellow PASOK member Akis Tsochatzopoulos as Greece’s defense minister in 2001. Tsochatzopoulos is in jail awaiting a trial on charges of money-laundering involving other defense contracts during his tenure.

The programs that are under scrutiny include the purchase of 12 Apache helicopters from Boeing, the procurement of Leopard tanks from Germany, a contract for Type 209 submarines and the upgrading of six frigates.

The authorities have already requested access to bank accounts held by Papantoniou and members of his immediate family, Kathimerini reported.

Financial prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis has also ordered an investigation into 85 state deals that were rejected by the Independent Authority for Public Contracts on the grounds that they were not made through open tender but via direct assignment without any bidding.