March 24, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Prosecutors denied request on EL.AS and Mafia links

Facts compromising the leadership of the Greek police EL.AScontain the findings of a report compiled by two competent economic crimes assistant prosecutors who concluded that there were grounds for prosecution of 23 people accused in the Greek mafia case.

According to a report given to journalists iEidiseis, two prosecutors wrote that they considered it necessary to request additional evidence directly from the police authorities related to the corruption group under investigation. Initially, on April 15, 2022, an order was sent to the headquarters of the national police with a request to provide the conclusion of the preliminary administrative check carried out against the relevant police officers, as well as all documents and materials collected from the formed disciplinary-administrative file.

In the summer of 2020, the police requested copies of the case file from the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (following the then publicized revelations against sworn police officers) as part of a preliminary administrative investigation ordered by the then head of EL.AS. for the respective police officers. According to the information, the head of EL.AS. did not respond to the prosecutor’s request.

In their report, the two prosecutors describe the steps they took to obtain more evidence about the corrupt group. As they write in their June 17, 2022 report to the then director of the Rapid Response Team and AT and TA commanders Omonia and Kipseli, they asked to know if these police agencies have received any complaints related to a corrupt group providing “cover” and ” protection” business since 2014.

“We received only negative answers to all our inquiries,” the prosecutors said. They also add that on June 17, 2022 and June 24, 2022, they sent inquiries to the Department of Internal Affairs on the same issue, without receiving any response (at least until the report was compiled). On the contrary, the sources in EL.AS. point out that obtaining evidence on complaints six, seven, eight years ago is an extremely difficult and time-consuming process, and for the special forces, they add that they receive thousands of calls every week, and finding specific complaints from the distant past is even more difficult and lengthy process.

Greek mafia: new “hot” evidence and testimonies

A new aspect in the judicial investigation of the high-profile case of the Greek mafia is given by the statement made by the lawyer when he was called in for an anonymous explanation as a suspect in a corrupt group.

iEidiseis reveals new evidence from witness statements about threats against women who were extradited “to keep them out of trouble”, about envelopes with money that had to be given for a “roof”, and about brothel managers who were forced to pay ” fine”.

However, despite the seriousness of the case, the lack of a preliminary in-depth investigation led to a white paper from two prosecutors stating that “on the basis of the evidence collected to date, in the context of the materials of the present case, the criminal liability of specific individuals – police officers and their participants – for a crime related to abuse of official position, as well as for offenses related to aiding criminals and violation of official duties.

The case is related to a 2015-2017 National Intelligence Service investigation (under the Rubatis administration) of relations between police and crime bosses for the purpose of “protection”, brothels, “pink” studios, casinos and large strip show establishments. The turnover of “the mafia, according to the materials of the case, is 1 million euros per month.”

The trial of the Greek mafia was “split” into two parts, as there was a risk that bribery offenses would be qualified by the court as minor offenses, which would allow criminals to avoid liability. Thus, it was considered that the conditions for the urgent separation of the case into a separate proceeding were met, and it was decided to conduct a separate trial in the bribery case. This trial ended on Tuesday 31 January with the acquittal of all 17 defendants. A few days earlier, the prosecutor asked for all the accused to be acquitted, saying: “Unfortunately, despite the gravity of the charge, there is no evidence.”

However, the case of the Greek mafia was not closed. This is because the felony trial has not yet been completed. iEidiseis discloses new evidence stemming from the discovery report of two economic crimes prosecutor’s assistants submitted to the economic crimes prosecutor (August 31, 2022) about a gang that, according to the indictment, provided “cover” for brothels and illegal casinos in exchange for substantial amounts of cash.


Prosecutors’ Finding of the Facts

The prosecutor’s report specifically mentions the testimony of a lawyer who was called to give an anonymous explanation as a suspect. This lawyer testified to the judicial authorities that he and his other colleagues involved in similar cases knew about the existence of a corrupt group. However, he said that he could not speak because he feared for his life. He said that the police forced his client to pay for the “roof”, and when he refused to pay, he was immediately arrested.

His clients said they paid to avoid arrest because the brothels they opened were illegal, unlicensed and sealed by the municipality. The mafia has taken advantage of the existing legal framework, under which almost no brothel is eligible for a legal license. Then they offered them a “protection program”.

Regarding the way the scheme works, the lawyer testified that initially daily arrests were made in brothels, until finally the “secret of the correct administration of cases” was “revealed” to them, and they joined the “protection program”, agreeing to the amount of 1000-1500 euros per month. The lawyer added that a few years ago, together with women active in this field, he visited the current minister, to whom they complained that tenants of brothels were being forced to pay for the “roof”.

The lawyer noted that the judiciary can establish the truth by inviting prostitutes and tenants of brothels to testify. Prosecutors say that after the testimony of the lawyer, it was deemed necessary to call the women he mentioned as witnesses. In particular, it was ordered to take deposition under oath in July 2022.

One woman testified that her assistant had been extorted for money without being able to determine whether the “collectors” were mobsters or policemen, and described a case of a “visit” by a police team that removed the cameras and damaged the establishment. After the police “raid” she was forced to pay 1,500 euros “for the peace of mind of the” roof “”. The money was transferred by her partner, and she, according to her, did not know to whom.

Prosecutors in their report note that there were indications, and especially to a certain extent competent ones, for initiating criminal prosecution for membership in a criminal organization against 23 people (including senior EL.AΣ. officers, active and retired).

Source link