Probe deepens into jet fuel theft

In a joint operation the Greek police, the General Chemical State Laboratory and financial investigators are following leads to determine whether 50,000 liters of jet fuel stolen from a Hellenic Air Force base was adulterated and sold as gasoline.

Four people were arrested earlier this month in connection with the scheme, which is believed to have been set up by the suspects eight months ago at an air force base in Araxos, in the northwestern Peloponnese.

Sources told Kathimerini that the investigation has so far revealed evidence to suggest that one of the suspects, a 40-year-old airman serving in the supply department of the base, provided access and cover for his accomplices. The 46-year-old retired air force officer, 28-year-old policeman and 36-year-old civilian who are also in custody are believed to have transferred large quantities of kerosene from the base's storage unit to trucks, stored it in underground tanks and then adulterated it so it could be sold as gas.

Samples of kerosene found in underground tanks on the property of the 36-year-old have been sent to the General Chemical State Laboratory for testing to ascertain whether the fuel was adulterated.

Invoices for fuel deliveries found on the 36-year-old man's property are also being investigated. Authorities are looking for any evidence that the fuel was sold to gas stations and if there are any other parties involved in the scheme.

All four suspects are to face a prosecutor in the western port city of Patra on Thursday, while the police officer has been suspended and the airman put on compulsory leave.