City of Athens official accused of running residence permit scam

Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis on Thursday forwarded an anonymous complaint against a high-ranking City of Athens official accused of helping immigrants illegally obtain residence permits, to a court of first instance prosecutor and to the country’s anti-corruption watchdog for public administration.

Although the complaint is anonymous, the minister has asked for it to be fully investigated, Kathimerini understands. It reportedly accuses a senior municipal official of “facilitating” the issuing of countless residence permits to immigrants and describes the City of Athens’s Immigrants’ Service Bureau as “a production line” for illicit permits.

The written complaint suggests that the same official has links to criminal rackets involving members of the Roma community, according to sources who said the woman had been the subject of previous complaints that have not been investigated. The author of the complaint is believed to have suggested that a prosecutor be assigned to question all City of Athens staff about the official in question, claiming that many would be prepared to provide details about cases she allegedly gave them to process.

Sources at City Hall played down the claims, with some calling them “immoral attacks” and others noting that the anonymous nature of the complaint compromised its seriousness.

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