Ex-Greek minister guilty of money laundering in Siemens scandal

ATHENS (Reuters) - A former Greek minister was found guilty on Friday of money laundering over contracts between the Greek unit of Siemens and then state-controlled telecoms group OTE.

Allegations that Greek politicians and political parties received bribes during successive administrations to grant German industrial giant Siemens lucrative contracts in the run-up to the 2004 Olympics have dominated local media for years.

The court ruled that Tassos Mantelis, 72, had concealed a 450,000 deutsche mark benefit he had demanded of Siemens via a third party to approve a contract with OTE.

Mantelis, who was alleged to have committed the offense while he was transport minister from 1996-2000, was found guilty of money laundering and handed an eight-year suspended sentence.

In 2010, Mantelis had told an investigating parliamentary committee that he had accepted money from Siemens while in office as a “campaign donation.”

In the same case, a former executive at Siemens’ Greek unit, Ilias Georgiou, 80, was found guilty of bribery and money laundering and handed a 12-year suspended prison sentence with orders not to leave the country.

Siemens ended one of the biggest corporate corruption probes in history when it agreed in 2008 to pay about 1 billion euros in fines and penalties after investigations by U.S. and German authorities into bribes it paid to win contracts.

Reporting by Constantinos Georgizas; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Richard Balmforth