Greek Suspect in Arms Bribery Scandal Set Free

Panayiotis EfstathiouPanayiotis Efstathiou, a Greek businessman and key suspect in the German arms bribery scandal testified on January 2, in front of the investigator. In his testimony he implicated two former Defense Chiefs, the deceased former Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, Giorgos Theodoroulakis, and former Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, Kostas Panayiotakis.

The 83-year-old Panayiotis Efstathiou, was released today. The Judicial Council which also met today, has been called to rule on the dispute between the investigator and prosecutor regarding the punishment of Efstathiou, formally a representative of the German firm Atlas Elektronik. The Council upheld the prosecutor’s decision to release Efstathiou.

The Judicial Council imposed bail of 500,000 euros, a travel ban and mandatory appearance at a police station three times a month. The Council took into consideration the poor health of the defendant. Efstathiou is suffering from cancer and was transferred to hospital late on Thursday after complaining of feeling faint after 12 hours of testimony.

The second arms dealer interrogated on Friday, 78-year old Dimitris Papachristos, was detained in prison after his testimony in which he also admitted to having paid Kantas, according to court sources.
According to Kantas’ testimony and court sources, Papachristos represented Wegmann in Greece at the time the alleged bribes were paid.

Greece is set to overhaul arms procurement procedures, in order to make them more transparent, Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Friday. This follows the wide-ranging corruption inquiry which has led to the arrest of a former defense official and two arms dealers.