Greece Revising Defense Bid Procedures

Dimitris Papachristos heads into court to testify in the defense scandal
Dimitris Papachristos heads into court to testify in the defense scandal

As a corruption scandal in the Greek Defense Ministry has widened to implicate top military officials, the government said it would change the way contracts are let and awarded.

Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said he’s making the revision to “safeguard transparency and to protect the prestige, trustworthiness and national mission of the armed forces,” as its reputation is being battered after accusations that former chiefs of staff of the army and navy both demanded bribes in return for giving their okay for arms deals.

The scandal has  led to one suspect, 78-year-old Dimitris Papachristos being remanded in custody, another –  83-year-old Panayiotis Efstathiou – released on bail and a third – Antonis Kantas- saying he would return 9.5 million euros he received in bribes.

Efstathiou was alleged to have made under-the-table payments to Kantas. Efstathiou, a former representative of German firm Atlas Elektronik, was released on bail of 500,000 euros after completing his deposition. Efstathiou admitted to paying bribes but said that he was blackmailed into doing so by Kantas, who allegedly vowed to award contracts to other companies if he was not paid off.

Papachristos, who represented the German firm Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, was accused of paying a 750,000-euro bribe to Kantas.

Prosecutors are investigating the alleged payment of bribes worth hundreds of millions of euros to former senior defense officials to secure weapons deals under PASOK Socialist governments in the late 1990s and early 2000s following tension with regional rival Turkey. PASOK is now a partner in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader.

The procurement probe follows the arrest of former Socialist Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who in October was sentenced to 20 years in prison following a related corruption investigation.

Last month, a former senior procurement official at the Defense Ministry, who served from 1997-2002 — mostly under Tsochatzopoulos — was arrested and admitted to taking some $15 million in bribes to back costly weapons purchases.

In testimony, a copy of which was seen by the Associated Press, Kantas claimed he received the bribes from local representatives of foreign arms manufacturers, including German, French and Russian firms. The deals allegedly included submarine, tank, fighter jet and missile purchases.

Two of the Greek contract negotiators named by Kantas have been arrested and charged with corruption and money laundering. Sources briefed on the case said both have admitted to giving bribes — but not to politicians.



  1. Only now does Avramopoulos decides to change the means for military procurement? Was he blind, stupid or an accomplice in the theft of millions from previous administrations. Is he a baby lost in the woods without a clue but well enough connected to become Defense Minister? Who else under his Ministry and Samaras’ Cabinet has been taking bribes and kick backs the past 19 months since ND returned to power?

  2. If anything our current government should be applauded for expanding the corruption probe. Your comments are typically better than the anti-government whiners that troll this website (who resort to slander, hyperbole and untruths like Skopians.. then ridiculously claim to be against corruption) The main thing achieved by demonizing our own moderate government is irrationally destabilizing our own country.

  3. When Papantoniou, Simitis and the fat corrupt pig Venizelos are standing before a judge then talk of applause but we all no your traitor hero Samaras isn’t going to let that happen.

  4. Our past & present Greek politicians knew all about these scandals but they turned the blind eyes to facilitates votes for the hot seat…

  5. This coalition government of ND and PASOK has laced within every Ministry and government owned entity, political appointees who do little to assist or improve the function of government. They are given high positions are well paid and generally ineffective to the extent they often never attend to the most basic of responsibilities.. Patronage in Greece is well imbedded and difficult to weed out. We have seen several recently demonstrate their inability to follow the law, and a complete disconnect from reality for personal gain. While this is not unique under Samaras-Venizelos leadership, it signals that neither leader is serious about corruption or reforms preferring instead to maintain the political patronage and kick backs. Casting out useless political appointees is hardly destabilizing the country.

  6. All aboard the gravy train, corruption is the cancer that is slowly killing Greece?