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Former Greek arms chief pays back bribes

Former Greek arms chief pays back bribes
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A former Greek government official who took around 15 million euros in bribes has returned half the money to the state.

Antonis Kantas admitted earlier this month in court in Athens to taking kickbacks during his time as the country’s deputy armaments chief.

Between 1997 and 2002 the 71-year-old is said to have waved through several major arms deals on behalf of Greece’s Defence Ministry with foreign firms.

According to Kantas, German tank builder KMW was one of those companies from whom he took money after Athens ordered 170 Leopard II tanks from them. The Munich based firm has denied paying any bribes.

In addition to the 7.5 million euros already paid, Kantas’ defence team have insisted the former official will make every effort to repay the rest of outstanding money very soon.

Unsurprisingly, however, the case has touched a raw nerve in austerity mired Greece.

Excessive arms procurement is seen as one reason why Athens borrowed so heavily and then had to be rescued with 240 billion euro EU-IMF bailout.