The growing scandal in the Greek defense ministry, with witnesses alleging widespread corruption and bribery involving foreign arms contracts, has led German investigators to look into deals involving the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), identified in testimony before Greek magistrates as paying bribes to at least one Greek official for the sale of 170 Leopard 2 tanks more than a decade ago.
The probe is being launched after Apostolos Kantas, deputy head of procurements at Greece’s Defense Ministry between 1996 and 2002, admitted that he accepted about $16 million in kickbacks from a number of suppliers during his time in office.
According to Deutsche Welle, KMW has also launched its own internal probe into the Leopard 2 deal but the company has so far rejected allegations that bribes were paid as part of the agreement. It also points out the sale of the tanks was agreed in 2003, after Kantas had left his position.
Reports also suggested that prosecutors in Berne, Switzerland, have located two bank accounts belonging to Kantas and are due to fine the lenders involved for money laundering.
Two other witnesses who prosecutors said were middlemen arranging and paying the bribes have been talking to Greek investigators as well, with one alleging that the two former chiefs of staff of the Greek Army and Navy were on the take too.