Former Greek Defense Ministry deputy director of armaments Antonis Kantas, the star witness in a massive scandal at the agency, is still being prosecuted, on charges of receiving a 250,000 euro bribe from a retired military officer which he admitted taking.
The retired officer, Christos Toumpas, was a representative for the Brazilian Embraer company, from which ministry bought a radar system, which was to be installed in the Embraer 145 aircraft. The deal cost 400 million euros ($548.6 million) and was contracted to Swiss telecommunications company Ericsson.
During questioning, Kantas revealed that Toumpas told him that “if this program went ahead he would not forget about him,” according to To Vima. Toumpas allegedly deposited 150,000 euros ($205,700) in a Geneva account and a further 100,000 euros ($137,160) in another.
The Swiss prosecutors were interested in the implication of Ericsson and have requested a cop of the related evidence from their Greek judicial colleagues, in order to initiate proceedings in Sweden.
In testimony, Kantas said so many bribes poured in that he couldn’t keep up with them. He said in one instance after he had spoken out against the purchase of expensive German tanks a representative of the company came into his office and put a satchel on his desk holding 600,000 euros, about $814,000.
That was in 2001 and within a few years, he said, he had taken the equivalent of $19 million in bribes. That was pocket money compared to how much others stole, he said, including former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is serving a 20-year sentence for money laundering and stealing hundreds of millions of euros during his tenure