NEWS

Probe into massive social security fraud widens

Four female employees of the country?s main social security fund (IKA) and two of the women?s husbands faced an Athens prosecutor on Friday in connection with a benefit scam believed to have cost the institution as much as 20 million euros.

The suspects face multiple charges of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering after allegedly assigning benefits illegally to people not insured with the fund and taking a cut of that money themselves.

The bulk of the fraud was carried out at the branch of IKA in Kallithea, southern Athens, where the employees were based, and involved the use of forged documents, according to police. A search of the house of one of the employees turned up a diaper box containing 960,000 euros in cash, officers said.

Police added that an arrest warrant had been issued for a seventh suspect, a woman who had been employed at an IKA branch in the region of Laconia in the Peloponnese.