The Internal Affairs Division of Greek Police has arrested 10 active police officers and believe another 24 involved into an illegal citizenship racket what has gained revenues estimated a total of 5 million euros. The arrests followed an investigation that lasted several months. the operation is considered the biggest ever in the Greek Police.
Citing sources of the Citizens’ Protection Ministry media reported that the Greek Police has already confirmed 20 arrests – 10 of which concern active officers.
According to state broadcaster ERT on Wednesday afternoon, the officers arrests have reached 34.
Among the racket leaders is reportedly a high-ranking police officer at the West Attica Security Division. A raid on his office on Tuesday discovered a safe that contained 320,000 euros in cash.
The police officer claimed he had forgotten the code to open the safe and police helped itself with other tools. He then claimed that the money belonged to a relative and he was keeping in the safe for …safety, state-run broadcaster amna noted.
The racket was providing foreign nationals with illegal citizenship papers and identification documents including new names for exchange of money.
Among their clients were Albanian nationals convicted for heavy crimes. they would reportedly pay 30,000-40,000 euros for a passport or an ID providing them with a new name and Greek nationality thus erasing their “criminal past”, at least on papers.
According to ERT, these criminals would furthermore receive a social security number and a tax number that would facilitate them to travel in European countries and continue their criminal activities.
However, some of them were reportedly arrested later in EU countries.
The racket was active 5-8 years and had revenues estimated to have reached 5 million euros in total, media report.
The racket consisted mainly of Greeks, police officers, civil servants and Greeks from the former USSR republics.
The majority of the officers implicated in the racket are connected to security division or passport offices of police stations mainly in West Attica. Raids have also been conducted at precincts in other parts of the capital.
According to news website newsit, arrested on Tuesday afternoon were so far 20 people, among them are:
9 active police officers including a high-ranking officer
1 employee at the Citizen Protection Ministry
1 municipality employee working at Civil Registry Office