7 charged over TV quiz scam

Seven TV station officials, producers and presenters have been charged with criminal fraud after a police crackdown on a televised quiz show that enticed viewers to compete for a cash prize by phoning in on high-charge toll lines. However, according to Thessaloniki police chief Christos Radopoulos, who announced the seven arrests yesterday, nobody managed to get through, as show organizers only answered the phone to accomplices - who all failed to give the right answer to an outstandingly stupid quiz. Punters, encouraged by the waiting jackpot, were kept on the high-charge line for up to 15 minutes, after which they were disconnected. Many tried again. Radopoulos said the quiz producers had made 10 million euros so far this year out of the toll charges, while at least 115,000 people had called up - without getting through - over the past five months. After trying out the system for themselves, running up a 225-euro bill in the process, police arrested two local TV station officials, two presenters and three show producers.