ATHENS (Reuters) - Scenting a ministerial bribe, a Greek inquiry into a corruption scandal seized on an email that referred to a deposit for a “cabinet man,” only to find that the payment was in fact to a carpenter.
The email dated March 2008 came under scrutiny from the country’s parliamentary committee looking into a bribes-for-contracts affair involving Siemens as it appeared to implicate a senior minister in the scandal.
“Please see the information required to give the 50 percent deposit for the cabinet man,” the email, sent in English to a businessman being investigated in the affair, read.
Giving evidence to the committee on Wednesday, the email’s recipient said that “cabinet man” was not a government member but a technician fixing cabinets in his New York home and that the email’s sender was a company overseeing the repairs.
“He submitted the email himself as part of his record of communications and it then got entangled in the investigation,” said Panagiotis Rigas, a member of parliament for the ruling PASOK party, who sits on the committee.
Greece has been rocked by a series of major street protests against government measures to cut the country’s deficit and a key demand of the protesters has been a crackdown on corrupt politicians whom they blame for mismanaging the Greek economy.
As a result, politicians have been keen to be seen moving against long-perceived corruption in public life.
Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton