A day before the election weekend in Greece, police revealed a new case of corruption in the Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping. Two employees in key positions, responsible for the allocation of funds for approved projects to stimulate entrepreneurship, were detained on Friday. They had requested a bribe of 120 thousand euro from a hotel owner from Crete in order to give him the due funds from the European aid. One of the offenders is a man, aged 58, who works in the financial department of the Ministry. The other is a woman aged 56 who is the head of the department managing and controlling the social programmes to the Ministry.
The two allies relied on their key positions in the Ministry to request a share of the European Union subsidies. According to the complaint of the entrepreneur, they have a long experience in blackmailing. Several years ago, he paid them 50 thousand euro for another project. From the 120 thousand euro, which the civil servants required in order to do their job, the hotelier had prepared only 10 thousand euro. They were the trap that the entrepreneur had set with the police in order to catch the criminals. Initially, the two officials had requested 10% of the total subsidy. Under these conditions, the amount of the bribe reached 300 thousand euro. Then, they demonstrated goodwill and reduced the "fee" to 120 thousand euro.
The civil servant aged 58 was captured first on Mitropoleos Street in the capital when he was taking the envelope with the money marked by the police. Minutes later, his associate aged 56 was caught at the scene when the clerk was giving her the share of her profit. Athens prosecutors accused them both of extortion and corruption.
In connection with the present disclosed case, the Minister of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Anna Diamantopoulou said loudly, "Either we will crush corruption, or it will swallow the whole country." She stressed that the new employees in the Private Investment Department have a clear mandate for action and are determined to implement the "Light Campaign," which involves a constant struggle with corruption. "An honest administration shows zero tolerance to crime and looting of public funds," the Minister said in conclusion. Diamantopoulou changed several ministries during the government of George Papandreou and in the remote past, she was known as a Member of the European Parliament and an insider of Brussels. Now, she is running again with the ballot of PASOK and according to Greek analysts, she has not given up pursuing further growth in her political career.