Ministers discuss Greece's case against Siemens

A government meeting to discuss Greece's case against Siemens was held at the office of Minister of State Haris Pamboukis on Tuesday. Participants included Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis and Regional Development and Competitiveness Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis.

In statements afterwards, Kastanidis said the government will draw up a single action plan, through which Greece would seek to be compensated for Siemens' delinquent behaviour at the expense of the Greek state.

Asked whether the government would also resort to legal action, the minister replied: "Obviously".

He clarified that the government was currently making a systematic list of its demands against the German-based multinational and that all available evidence would be used, including the conclusions of a recent Parliamentary inquiry into the Siemens kickbacks scandal. This stage of the process was expected to be complete by April, he added.

The government, which recently announced its intention to seek compensation from Siemens for damage to the Greek state's interests as a result of the multinational's kickbacks to public officials and political parties, is expected to fight the case on three main fronts. It will seek compensation for the C4I security system, for moral damage suffered by the Greek State and the imposition of penalties for perceived violations of competition laws.

Relations between the multinational and individual state-sector Greek enterprises are being treated as separate cases and the management of each such company will have to seek compensation on its own account if they believe this is warranted.

The claims of the Greek State concerning the C4I have already been referred to international arbitration while the case for moral damages is being investigated, as Pamboukis told Parliament earlier.

The parts of the case relating to competition rules are the province of the Competition Commission, which has already initiated an investigation at the request of the Parliament Examining Committee that investigated the case. This asked that the Competition Commission look into whether Siemens abused its dominant position on the market or made secret arrangements with its competitors in the framework of public tenders for state contracts.

Greece not discussing out-of-court settlement with Siemens, gov't says

Greece is not currently discussing or considering an out-of-court settlement with Siemens for the compensation being sought by Athens for scandals involving kickbacks paid by the multinational company, Greek government spokesman George Petalotis said on Tuesday.

"At the moment we are talking about a series of actions that are already underway and others that have already been decided in order to redress the damage to the Greek state from the Siemens scandal," the spokesman added in response to questions.

Petalotis pointed out that apart from these actions, there were also fines imposed for unfair competition, law suits that had already been filed by organisations in which the Greek state was a shareholder and that had been harmed by the contracts with Siemens. The spokesman also raised an issue of "moral damages" to the Greek state that had to be compensated, describing this as a "very complex legal issue".

He noted that all the necessary legal actions must be taken and from that point on there would be a basis for estimating the extent of the damage from the company's actions, at which point it would be at the discretion of Siemens and the Greek State to take action to fully compensate for this damage to public sector to the highest degree.

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