Former Greek Defense Ministry official Antonis Kantas, who has admitted to accepting bribes while serving as deputy head of the Ministry’s armed forces procurements department, is to be released from custody because the 18-month maximum period for holding a suspect on remand has expired.
Kantas, who served at Greece’s Defense Ministry when currently jailed former Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos was in charge, may be released as soon as Saturday. He was jailed on remand in December 2013 after admitting to bribery charges. At the time, Kantas had told examining prosecutors that he had accepted kickbacks amounting to 14 million euros, either to support or to not oppose purchase of certain weapons or armed forces equipment.
The accused has now returned sums traced to bank accounts he holds abroad back to the Greek state.
The procurements for which Kantas has admitted accepting bribes include the German submarines acquired by the Greek Navy, a Stinger Asrad anti-aircraft missile system, Kornet anti-tank missiles, an OSA AMK anti-aircraft system, self-propelled artillery guns built by German firm Wegmann, an airborne surveillance system, an Arthur radar, Mirage 2000-5 aircraft, Exocet missiles, German Leopard 2 tanks and an upgrade of M48 tanks bought from the U.S.
A justices’ council had recently ordered Kantas’ release on a 200,000-euro bail but he was unable to pay the amount so remained in custody.
Among others, he testified that he had given roughly 500,000 euros in cash to two bankers to help him deposit it abroad and that they had moved it without his knowledge through Siemens’ “useful payments” accounts, as the multinational’s secret slush funds were known.