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Subs bought to facilitate euro entry

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in its edition today sports a main article presenting self proclaimed “adviser” Alexandros Avathagelos.

Alexandros Avathagelos, who had been jailed in Korydallos prison for the submarine scandal with German firm HDW, and was released on a 500,000 euro bail, began his career as a psychologist in Belhium, later turning to arms brokerage for the sake of “the game and adventure.”

Mr Avataggelos talks of a time when plenty of money was flowing in the arms market. “Until the turn of the millennium European governments spent a lot of money on weapon procurments and Greece, before the crisis, was a very good customer,” he said.

The Greek government bought much and gladly at high prices. Decisions rarely had to do with weapon system value. As the paper notes that for the order for the submarines, for example, the job of Mr Avathagelos was for the shipyard at Kiel to get the job and not the much French cheaper competitor.

As Süddeutsche Zeitung adds, there was no real competition. The arms procurement was always a political decision “Greece bought submarines in order to enter the euro. 80% went for that cause. Socialist Kostas Simitis was in power in Athens at the time and social-democrat Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin. Thesale was important to HDW and the SPD constituency in northern Germany,” says Avathagelos.

Mr Avathagelos does not believe that this attitude was deplorable and says “Simitis did the right thing.” According to him “Greece saved HDW, at the time, and it would not have existed without us.”