Swiss probe Greek defence bribe link

German companies helped equip Greece's army Keystone

Switzerland has blocked CHF10 million ($11 million) of suspected bribery funds held in Swiss banks and opened investigations into three alleged accomplices of a Greek money laundering scandal.

This content was published on January 5, 2014 - 12:37 and agencies

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the action at the weekend following newspaper allegations of former Greek defence ministry workers taking bribes from German companies supplying military equipment to Greece in the 1990s.

Swiss banks have been used to harbour millions of dollars of bungs, according to the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.

A former Greek defence minister has already been jailed in Greece after being found guilty of corruption. The Greek authorities have now extended their investigation to other officials suspected of taking bribes for placing orders with defence contractors.

Speaking to Swiss public television, anti-corruption campaigner Mark Pieth said dirty cash was still washing through the Swiss financial centre despite efforts to clean up Switzerland’s image.

“We still have a relatively high amount of such money in Switzerland,” he said.

In November, the prosecutor's office seized CHF60 million of dirty money linked to a separate German-Greek corporate bribery scandal. Swiss-based lawyers and shell companies were also uncovered as having helped to hide the bribe slush fund of German company Siemens used to secure Greek telecommunications contracts.

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