Millions for Billions

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) – New allegations of corruption have been leveled at leading German arms manufacturers. According to a former employee of the Greek defense ministry and several mediators of the arms industry, German arms manufacturers paid millions in bribes to induce Athens to purchase German weaponry, worth several billion Euros. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall were among the companies named. These deals helped inflate the country’s debts and were, therefore, in part responsible for escalating the crisis. Others, such as Siemens, had also paid millions in bribes to land lucrative contracts from Athens. According to a Greek journalist, who has done extensive research on corruption in Greece, German companies are the “main beneficiaries” of Greece joining the Euro zone because they subsequently profited from highly lucrative Greek government contracts. The sumptuous contracts helped plunge Greece into crisis while they, at the same time, helped the German industry to blaze its trail to the predominant position in Europe.

World’s Fifth Largest Arms Procurer

This was not the first time German arms deals with Greece have ended up in court. In the fall of 2013, the former Greek Defense Minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, was sentenced to 20 years in prison: He had accepted bribes worth 55 million Euros to purchase Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and German-made 214-type submarines, developed by the HDW ship building company in Kiel. The bribes had been transmitted by HDW partner Ferrostaal (Essen). This deal, valued at about 2.85 billion Euros, was concluded in 2000. Shortly after the crisis in Greece clearly escalated, critics were already pointing out that the multi-billion German arms deals were playing a major role in Athens’ becoming the world’s fifth largest arms procurer for the period from 2005 to 2009.[2] These arms imports had exacerbated the Greek government’s debts to the point where the country finally plunged completely into a crisis.

Primary Beneficiaries of Joining the Euro Zone

The discovery of the bribery by the arms industry and the Siemens Corp. signifies, by no means, that all cases of German corruption in Greece have been uncovered. In June 2013, the Deutsche Bahn AG admitted that its subsidiary, DB International, has siphoned off finances to obtain contracts to build the Metro in Athens.[5] Earlier, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Daimler of having landed its Greek business deals with bribes.[6] According to critics, this all has system. “The primary beneficiaries” of Greece’s joining the Euro zone have been German companies, explained Tasos Telloglou, a journalist, who has done extensive research on Greek corruption. Since then, they have been given lucrative contracts “particularly from the government.”[7] With these contracts, German exports to Greece – which in 2002 were at about five billion Euros – had soared by 60 percent until 2008, reaching eight billion Euros.

Further information and background on Germany’s policy toward Greece can be found here: Die Folgen des Spardiktats, Ausgehöhlte Demokratie, Protectorate-Like, Patterned after the Treuhand, Impoverishment Made in Germany, The Traits of the Crisis, On the Relevance of Democracy, Only Misunderstandings, Squeeze Dry and Obscure and Austerity Kills.

Full article: Millions for Billions (German Foreign Policy)

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