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Head of Thessaloniki TV involved in a corruption scandal for millions

17 January 2012 / 19:01:57  GRReporter
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The Greek police in Thessaloniki have broken the system of four criminal groups engaged in money laundering, fraud, extortion and usury. In a massive police operation, 47 people have been detained, including tax and bank employees, lawyers, journalists and a policeman. The name of the journalist arrested in this case is George Feretis - a former head of news in the public television ERT3 in Thessaloniki who later held the post of advisor in the management of ERT3. In November 2011, he had entered the lists of the labour reserve that is equivalent to public sector employees layoffs.

Two more police officers are suspects in the case. They are charged with passive corruption and violation of their powers. The case file indicates that the accused participated in criminal acts that cost the state tens of millions of euro.

The Greek government is especially delighted with the news at a time when social tensions in Greece grow with taxes and the common phrase is, "Why do they take from the ordinary citizen, not from thieves?" The Minister of Citizen Protection Christos Papoutsis commented on the case, "By breaking these criminal organizations, Greek police have proved once again that they fight seriously and do not give way to organized crime, which drains huge amounts illegally and deprives the state of significant revenue."

Among those arrested are a higher member of the Economic Crimes Division SDOE in Thessaloniki, an employee in one of the tax offices in the city, two managers in the banking system, a regular bank employee, a police officer and an employee of the local football club. The investigation continues and the police want to find out the role of each detainee and the hierarchy in the criminal system. The number of victims of usury and extortion by the organization remains in question as well as the exact amount "laundered" after the foundation of the group.

The police want to find out all the victims - owners of shops and restaurants, who had to pay extortion, how much money was "laundered" and in what way. One version is that the group has “laundered” the money through profits from the national lottery OPAP to be able to prove it. Authorities continue with the investigation by checking the houses and other real estate in the area of Thessaloniki, Halkidiki and Serres to gather additional evidence.

Tags: Crime newCriminal groupsOrganized crimeGreeceThessaloniki
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