NEWS

Birth registrations under the microscope in wake of 'Maria' case

A top Greek prosecutor has ordered an emergency nationwide investigation into birth certificates issued in the past six years after a girl was discovered living with alleged abductors at a gypsy camp.

Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani ordered the inquiry Tuesday for birth certificates issued after January 1, 2008, amid news media reports of benefit fraud by families declaring births in multiple administrative regions.

A couple has been jailed on charges of abduction and document fraud. "Maria," believed to aged 5-6, was taken into protective care last week after DNA tests established that the couple were not her natural parents.

Meanwhile, the City of Athens will be conducting its own investigation into the actions of four employees at the registry office that issued a birth certificate for the young girl.

A preliminary inspection of the department's records showed that the number of post-dated birth certificates it issued has shot up from 50 in 2011 to around 200 in 2012 and some 400 so far this year. [AP/Kathimerini]

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