Greek Parliament To Review Future Arms Deals

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Greece has historically spent an outsized amount of its budget on military equipment — ostensibly to protect its border with historic rival Turkey. Between 2007 and 2011, Greece was Europe's largest importer of arms. But an ongoing investigation into the purchase of submarines has exposed high-level political corruption.


Greece has historically spent an outsized amount of its budget on military equipment to protect its border with historic longtime rival Turkey. Now an investigation into the purchase of submarines suggests that defense might not be the only reason for all that spending. The investigation exposed high-level corruption behind those arms deals.

Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: A recent European Union study said its 28 member-states are vulnerable to corruption when they buy things - like military equipment.

TASOS TELOGLOU: Greece has a huge problem in transparency in defense procurement for one very concrete reason: These are complex programs.

KAKISSIS: This is investigative reporter Tasos Teloglou.

TELOGLOU: That means a lot of players are involved - state companies, state officials, ministers, military, etc.

KAKISSIS: And he says many want their cut to back pricey arms deals - including the 1998 purchase of four submarines. Greece ordered them from a German company. There were delays, cost over-runs and a new contract that added two more submarines. But only one is now in use. Greece does not have the money to finish the rest of them.

Teloglou helped prompt an investigation revealing that a former defense minister received bribes. The minister is in jail and one of his allegedly key middlemen is on trial now.

The Greek parliament might decide to review future arms deals.

For NPR News, I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens.

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