Russian arms deal had special annex for Greek kickbacks

Russian arms deal had special annex for Greek kickbacks
17 January 2014


A deal between Russian companies and the Greek state to procure the TOR M-1 missile systems contained a special – but illegal – appendix allowing for 25% of the buying price to the paid in kickbacks, a Russian court found in 2005.

According to the full text of the court ruling published in Tuesday's Eleftherotypia, the kickbacks – some $25m described as commissions – were to be paid in instalments before 25 January 2004. The date is significant as it was widely known at the time the contract was signed that Greece would hold general elections no later than April 2000, when the four-year term of the Pasok government would expire. In the event, elections were held on 7 March of that year. As the paper points out, the intention was to pay the money before a possible change in government.

In a special report on the latest corruption scandal surrounding arms procurements, Eleftherotypia also says that 92 pages of crucial evidence concerning the kickbacks were "lost" and not revealed to a parliamentary committee established to look into corruption allegations at the defence ministry when Pasok's since jailed Akis Tsochatzopoulos (1996-2001) and Yiannos Papantoniou (2003-2004) were ministers.

Eleftherotypia says the documents went missing as they made their way from the Russian authorities to the parliament via the Greek embassy in Moscow.

In an interview with Elefterotypia published on Tuesday, the then chairman of the committee called to investigate bribery allegations surrounding the purchase of Russian weapons systems said his committee was stopped from investigating the deals. "Yes, ten years ago we had fully documented the involvement of Akis Tsochatzopoulos in receiving kickbacks via Drumilan for the TOR-M1 and TPQ-37 [purchases] and also Yiannos Papantoniou in the 'party' involving procurements for the armed forces. But unfortunately, it all stopped there …," said Yiannis Tragakis, who is still an MP for New Democracy.

Last month, Antonis Kantas, deputy head of procurements at the ministry between 1996 and 2002, admitted that he received around $16m that had been stashed away in Singapore and Switzerland in return for helping to agree at least 10 arms deals.

In October, Tsochatzopoulos was sentenced to 20 years for money-laundering and taking kickbacks for armaments procurement while in office. In October 2012, the managing director of the company involved in the sale of the Russian-made TOR-M1 missile system to Greece was found dead in a hotel room in Jakarta, Indonesia, after an apparent suicide. Vlassis Kambouroglou, who headed Drumilan International, denied that his company made any money from the deal. No charges were brought against him. In addition, on the same evening in June 2003, Igor Klimov and Sergey Shchitko, who were involved in Almaz-Antey, the Russian company associated deal, were murdered in separate incidents.

Since 1998, Russia has supplied Greece with dozens of Tor-M1 and Osa-AKM surface-to-air missile systems, Kornet anti-tank guided missile systems, Krasnopol-M1 cannon-launched, fin-stabilized semi-automatic laser-guided explosive projectile systems, and three Zubr marine-landing hovercraft. There is a Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missile system deployed in Crete, having been brought over from Cyprus.

Source: EnetEnglish.