Ministry employees charged with extorting money from businessman

Two Development Ministry employees were charged on Saturday with blackmail and accepting bribes in relation to their dealings with a hotel owner in Naflpio, the Peloponnese, who was seeking state subsidies for a new investment.

The businessman has accused the two civil servants, a man aged 58 and a 56-year-old woman, of asking for a 10 percent cut of the 3 million euros in subsidies he was due to receive. The entrepreneur?s application for state funding had been pending since 2009.

He allegedly accepted to pay the ministry employees 120,000 rather than 300,000 euros and immediately informed authorities. The two suspects were arrested by the Financial Police when they accepted the first, 10,000-euro instalment of the bribe.

The 56-year-old woman denied any role in the incident and said she had simply accepted the money from her colleague as the return of a loan she had made to him. Two other Development Ministry employees were arrested earlier this year in a similar incident.