Under the title “Graft revelations stun even jaded Greeks,” the U.S. newspaper “New York Times” features an extensive article about corruption in Greece on the front page of its European printed edition.
Antonis Kantas, the former deputy director of armaments, involved in many bribery scandals relating to the purchase of armaments testified recently: “Corruption was so rampant inside the Greek equivalent of the Pentagon, that even a man of his relatively modest rank was able to amass nearly $19 million in just five years on the job.”
The Athens NYT correspondent addresses some of the most interesting parts surrounding Kantas, who has already confessed that he received bribes in 12 armament contracts, while also facilitating the laundering of that money between several foreign bank accounts.
The article mentions that “Greeks are hardened to stories of corruption,” but goes on saying that the prosecution of Kantas “has left many Greeks hoping that they are finally witnessing the beginning of the end of the unchecked graft that helped plunge Greece into its current crisis.”
The confession of Kantas also triggers anger, particularly in Germany. He revealed that weapon manufacturers from Germany, France, Sweden and Russia gave generous bribes often through Greek representatives, so as to sell to Greece weapons that were too expensive for the country and which according to experts, were in several cases not working properly.
“The Defense Ministry is hardly the only ministry suspected of being a hotbed of corruption. But the Defense Ministry makes a particularly rich target for investigators because Greece went on a huge spending spree after 1996 when it got into a low-level skirmish with Turkey over the Imia islets in the Aegean Sea,” added the Athens correspondent in her article.
The article also refers to a Greek investigative reporter, who estimates that the arms dealers have probably spent more than $2.7 billion on bribes, so as to secure the approval of their contracts by military and defense ministry officials, as well as parliament.
In the article, experts on the matter argue that “the prosecution team behind Mr. Kantas’ arrest is being starved of the resources needed to deal with an ever-widening pool of information. The four prosecutors work in a windowless converted storage room with their desks jammed together. The unit’s chief, Eleni Raikou, appointed last August, paid for the installation of new wall outlets and light switches herself,” though also referring to the undeterred moral of these judicial officials and the several arrests made since the first testimony of Kantas last December.