Greece’s anti-money laundering authority will be investigating the bank accounts of Former Prime Minister Costas Simitis and members of his family, as well as two ministers in the Greek government of 2003, bank sources revealed on Wednesday.
The investigation was prompted by recent media coverage about a 2003 contract for refurbishing six Hellenic Navy frigates, reported in the newspaper “Ta Nea”, and the accusations of bribery made by Michel Josserand, formerly head of Engineering and Consulting at Thales, the company that had been awarded the contract.
In addition to Simitis’ accounts, the authority have requested access to the bank accounts of the Former Public Order Ministers of that time, Michalis Chrysohoidis and Evangelos Malesios, and the bank accounts in Greece and Germany of Simitis’ brother, Spiros Simitis, in particular about the transfer of the sum of 800,000 euros that is also being investigated by Greek prosecutors for corruption.
In testimony to French authorities in an investigation into Thales and possible bribery, Josserand had claimed that the security contract for the 2004 Olympic Games had gone to US firms “because they aimed high within the then political leadership.”
The examining magistrates for corruption that are handling the frigates investigation, for which the Former Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and his wife have already been remanded in custody, have asked French authorities to allow them to also examine Josserand to aid in their investigation.
Josserand turned whistleblower after being accused of bribery by French authorities, collaborating to reveal other illegal practices engaged in by the company to gain contracts abroad.