The Greek police have published a complete outline of the actions of a criminal organization that has created a scheme to obtain Greek citizenship illegally.
This complex organizational structure involved police officers of various ranks, civil servants in key positions, local government officials (registry office) issuing certificates and, of course, individuals who helped the main persons involved.
The first details of the case materials show that the “brains” of the criminal organization came up with an extremely original idea to use Greek names belonging to expatriates from the Caucasus, with which they “laundered” convicted criminals from Albania. The idea is really impressive in its originality.
How the criminal organization worked
The scheme developed a hierarchically structured and complex network of employees who, by order of the head of the organization, actively issued authentic (formal) identity cards and passports to Greek citizens, mostly foreigners, but also locals, often with criminal records.
For paperwork, we used:
false information about non-existent persons; or data on expatriates residing abroad; or data on existing citizens after a previous false statement about the loss of identity; or their real identity as a result of the illegal acquisition of Greek citizenship.
By using these documents, the clients of the scheme have received, depending on the circumstances, a number of advantages, namely:
concealment of criminal record, free stay and movement within the country, free exit from the country and free movement / residence in countries inside and outside the European Union and the Schengen area, obtaining a driver’s license, drawing up new or using existing tax registers with the subsequent establishment of companies and enterprises without payment relevant taxes, the conclusion of agreements and contracts of any kind.
The combined assessment of the collected evidence showed that the criminal organization has been operating since at least April 2013, and the total financial benefit of the network is estimated at more than 5,000,000 euros.
Regarding the modus operandi of the criminal organization, it should be noted that each member had a specific role, which, depending on the circumstances, consisted of engaging stakeholders, presenting as an identity witness and issuing certificates of marital status. , issuing identity cards, providing information through searches in electronic applications of the Greek police or in general to facilitate the work of the organization.
In particular, the “director” of the organization directed and coordinated other members, brought stakeholders into contact with “competent” members of the organization, and determined the amount that was to be paid for issuing documents.
At the same time, with the help of the second head and employees of municipal registry offices, they received data from those who returned from the former USSR and left there again after obtaining Greek citizenship, as well as announcing fictitious marriages and childbirth abroad.
In addition, he advised “clients” to indicate as their place of residence an address falling under the territorial jurisdiction of a particular security department or passport office, of which the competent police officer is a member.
Then, using the issued certificate of marital status, photographs and fees, as well as the presence as a witness of a member of the organization, they went with the person concerned to the issuing authority. There they received the relevant documents and proceeded to the illegal issuance of an identity card or the corresponding procedure for issuing a passport.
In addition, the investigation showed that on a case-by-case basis, police officers acted on behalf of the organization to locate identities through the police electronic database, which were then used to falsely identify.
During conversations, network participants used communication codes with characteristic words for the documents they issued. In particular, they referred to the identity card as “blue” and the passport as “booklet”, although it turned out that many of the telephone connections they used to issue the documents were registered telephone connections of members of a criminal organization.
It is noted that for the issuance of each document, the person concerned paid a sum of at least 30,000 euros.
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How was the capture of the main defendant
On Monday morning, the capture team arrived at the office of the security chief, Aspropyrgos. The special group broke into his office and demanded to see the safe. At first, he allegedly denied its existence, but then leaned over and showed it. Then the head of the special group asked him to name the code. The policeman said that he did not remember the combination, so he was opened with a grinder. As for the large sum of money found inside, he claimed that it was his relative and he kept it there for security purposes.
What was found and what was confiscated
As a result of searches carried out in homes, workplaces, shops, cars, as well as those arrested, among other things, the following were found and confiscated:
2 revolvers, pistols, cartridges and 382 cartridges, laptop and 3 tablets, central computer unit, hard drive and SSD-drive, 15 USB, 6 external hard drives, adapters and memory cards, GPS trackers, 608 025 euros, 37 mobile phones and sim cards, digital camera, document laminator and laminators, 4 vehicle registration plates, drug pills, small amounts of cocaine and cannabis,
In addition, APOSTILLE documents, documents of cohabitation, copies of passport and visa pages, stamps, marital status certificates, death certificates, identity cards, passports, notebooks, diaries and pocket notebooks, wallets, documents related with identity cards, official identity cards for which the theft was reported, forms of a responsible statement with genuine seals and signatures, as well as photocopies of identity documents and residence permits of foreigners.
On Wednesday, after the searches, almost 500 thousand euros were identified and seized. incl. 320 thousand from the safe of the head of the security service of the Athens suburb Aspropyrgos.
The investigative actions of the Internal Investigation Service continue. It is reported that at least 34 police officers were involved in the criminal organization.