Eight indicted to trial for misuse of state funds by NGO

Eight people who have been implicated in the activities of a non-government organization called the International Mine Initiative (IMI), including Alex Rondos, a former adviser to one-term socialist prime minister George Papandreou, were on Friday indicted to trial on charges of misuse of millions euros of public funds.

The NGO had undertaken demining operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Lebanon and is alleged to have received more than nine million euros illegally.

A key suspect is Constantinos Tzevelelos who is in pre-trial custody. The other seven people linked to the organization’s activities include Rondos who headed the Foreign Ministry’s department for international development cooperation between July 2002 and January 2003 and subsequently served as adviser to Papandreou.

Last year Rondos had rebuffed the charges, claiming that his role at the ministry did not oblige him to check the legitimacy of documents for approving funds to NGOs. He submitted an experts report indicating that the signatures on certain documents approving the release of funding to IMI were not genuine.

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