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Corruption: High-ranking Police Officers offering protection to criminal bosses

Dialogues between high-ranking officers of the Greek Police EL.AS. with bosses of criminal gangs were published by newspaper To Vima on Sunday.  According to the newspaper claims, a total of 27 police officers seem to have been involved in criminal activities offering protection to gangs mostly active in fuel trafficking.

The article triggered the intervention of the Supreme Court prosecutor who ordered an urgent preliminary inquiry.

According to tovima, these conversations were found on mobile phone chat apps, such as Viber and Whats App, of at least one gang boss who was recently  executed in contract killing.

In these  chats, senior police officials can be heard saying that they will assist gang rings involved in fuel smuggling and other criminal acts by not conducting thorough checks and allowing them to operate unhindered.

Part of the conversations was revealed after the execution in cold blood of a fuel station owner.

Police officers and gang bosses

“My friend, anything you want about gas stations, I will do it immediately…”. This assurance, which was given by a senior officer of EL.AS. to a member of an illegal ring, is just one part of the hundreds of “dialogues of shame” between officers of police authorities and godfathers of the night, fuel smugglers or other members of organized crime, as tovima revealed.

The impressive material at the disposal of the Sunday newspaper highlights, perhaps for the first time in such a vivid way, the relationships and systems of intertwining and dependence, the nexus of interests and also the underground routes between godfathers of the night and executives of EL.AS., even at the highest level.

These revelations demonstrate the need for immediate cleansing in the area of the country’s police authorities, stresses tovima.

As dialogues reveal, the goal was for the police to proceed with faulty checks and allow the rings to continue their activities undisturbed.

The dialogues are text messages SMS, recorded conversations and other electronic records that have been found on the mobile phones or computers of criminal suspects who were victims of “death contracts”. Among them, are also the murder of a businessman-owner of a gas station or the criminal act with an active ex-policeman as a victim.

In addition, there are suspicious arrangements between EL.AS officers with Albanian criminals whose activities in drugs and weapons trafficking were recently revealed during a police operation in Polytechnioupoli campus in Zografou suburb of Athens in September 2022.

There seems to have been a “mapping” of 25 police officers who have the lead,  are related to or benefit from the corruption ring.

It seems that SMS messages sent to businessmen about upcoming checks by government agencies have also been found. However, there are no clear moves to stop these illegal arrangements and transactions, .

Furthermore, the gang bosses seem to have had a saying in police officers’ transfers in “posts” crucial for them who would serve them on a daily basis.

Politicians involved?

An additional worrisome element is the fact that in many of the dialogues revealed by “To Vima” there is reference to “arrangements” with “collaborating ministers” and persons in corresponding positions. Equally problematic and indicative of the dimensions of corruption is that the transfers of police officers mentioned in the dialogues seem to be confirmed by the internal data of the EL.AS departments. Thus, a few hours after the recorded stories, there are indeed… strange interventions from above, which concerned precisely these pre-arranged positions of police officers. These did not appear to have been made with “strict service criteria.”

The ring is said to have bribed, from time to time, a number of officers of the Fuel Trafficking Control Agency, the Economic Police, the Organized Crime and Blackmailers and other services of EL.AS. but also of the national Intelligence Service EYP in order to enjoy protection.

Among the corrupted officers is reportedly also a commander of the Department of Attica for whom recorded messages say that “he is paid for bars protection in the southern suburbs of Athens.”

There are also other suspicious officers, as well as officers who are close to politicians.

In the dark for four years: “Lost” mobiles, fuel smuggling and cash registers

ToVima stresses that “the most important part of the investigations concerns the activity of senior police officers and it emerged through a file sent to the Athens Prosecutor’s Office at the end of 2021. The file included all the data obtained from mobile phones found after the murder – on May 1, 2018 – of a 58-year-old former police officer. These mobile phones, in a strange way, had “disappeared” and thus had not been checked after the crime.

However, they were later found in the drawer of a police officer on security duty. In the list of conversations with the persons in question, 75 names were found in an online application, mainly former and current executives of EL.AS.

It is noted here that the murdered ex-policeman, as well as about 20 other policemen, lawyers and individuals, had been attributed by an investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office – in the period 2016-2018 – to have participated in a corruption ring for the control of about 1,000 clubs, brothels, nightclubs, and other establishments.

Source/full story including some dialogues:

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