Switzerland news: Bribes in Greek defense corruption scandal deposited in Swiss banks

The Tages-Anzeiger reports that millions in bribes paid by foreign defense contractors to employees of the Greek defense ministry were deposited in Swiss banks including UBS, Credit Suisse and Julius Bär.

Offshore constructions such as trusts were used to disguise the provenance of the funds.

It is not yet clear if this case will have legal consequences for the Swiss banks: the prosecutor in Switzerland is investigating if there was organizational responsibility on their part. None of the banks was available for comment, says the Tages-Anzeiger.

Reuters has background on the corruption case:  Antonis Kantas, deputy armaments chief at the Greek defense ministry between 1997 and 2002, “openly admitted to taking $16 million in bribes relating to arms deals with foreign companies from countries including Germany, France, Russia, Brazil and Sweden.”

Reuters also notes that “Heavy arms spending was one of the reasons Athens piled up debt and had to be rescued with European Union and IMF bailouts totalling 240 billion euros ($328 billion) in 2010 and 2012.”