Investigators to search through international bank accounts of former Defence Minister 2

The bank accounts of former Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou will be the subject of investigation by Greek prosecutors who have extended their search to five countries, including France.

Greek prosecutors requested the permission of French authorities to investigate Papantoniou’s accounts in French banks and to question Michel Josserand, former president of Thales Engineering & Consulting, which won the contract for the upgrade of six Greek frigates in 2003.

In testimonies to French authorities as early as 2005, Josserand has mentioned that his company used bribes to win contracts. He has also claimed that in Thales’ bid for the security of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the company’s representative in Greece had informed him that winning the bid would require “7%-10% for the Minister of Defence.”

Papantoniou and his wife Stavroula Kourakou have been held in custody since testifying before prosecutors on October 23.

The former PASOK politician Papantoniou, who also holds French citizenship, was defence minister from 2001 to 2004 and has denied all charges.

Investigators have requested information from Belgium, Cyprus, the United States, and the Netherlands, where Thales has its headquarters.