Greek Type 214-class submarine Papanikolis at HDW in Kiel, Germany. Authorities have not specified which Greek submarine programs are connected with allegations of bribery by German industry. (Wikimedia Commons)
BONN — Prosecutors last week searched the offices of Rheinmetall-Defence-Electronics and Atlas Elektronik in northern Germany on suspicion of bribery in connection with the sale of submarine equipment to Greece from 1998 to 2011, according to a spokesman for the public attorney’s office in Bremen.
Rheinmetall-Defence’s subsidiary is accused of paying €9.1 million (US $12.18 million) and Atlas Elektronik €8.5 million in bribes during that time to Greek officials, the spokesman said. The whole issue came to light in the wake of a regular tax audit at Rheinmetall-Defence-Electronics in 2012.
Sources have not specified which submarine program this involves, but the Greek Navy operates the Type 209- and Type 214-class submarines. Both classes were developed by German companies Howaldstwerke-Deutsche Werft, Kiel and Nordseewerke GmbH (NSW), Emden.
While both companies acknowledged the investigations, Rheinmetall-Defence said the accusations lack any basis. And while not commenting on the ongoing investigation, Atlas Electronics confirmed that the company did an internal compliance audit in 2010, which raised suspicions.
The spokesman for Atlas Elektronik also said it reported this incident to the public attorney’s office at the time. However, the spokesman said that, at the time, it appeared that nothing had happened in Germany’s jurisdiction, so German prosecutors did not investigate.
How long the investigations will take is not clear yet.