NEWS

One bank employee, five Finance Ministry workers, accused of bribery

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An employee of the National Bank of Greece and five people who worked at the Finance Ministry in 2011 face charges of bribery over an application by a businessman for funding to build a photovoltaic energy park.

The Greek Police said on Thursday that it arrested the National Bank employee as he received 3,000-euros in marked bills from the businessman in Athens on Wednesday.

The businessman told investigators that he had applied at the Finance Ministry for 1.5 million euros’ worth of funding from the EU-backed National Strategic Reference Framework to build an energy park in 2011. In the spring of 2014, one of the accused ministry workers allegedly demanded a bribe of 5,000 euros to expedite his application, while the other four employees are also said to have started demanding money during different phases of the process, culminating in a meeting with the bank worker, who asked for 6,000 euros to facilitate disbursement and an additional 4,000 euros for his wife, a tax advisor who was introduced to the businessman as a lawyer.

In late December, the bank worker allegedly demanded an additional 3,000 euros, prompting the businessman to file a complaint with the police’s internal affairs division, which is responsible for investigating crimes in the broader public sector.

Police arranged for the businessman to hand over the bribe in marked bills, leading to the bank worker’s arrest.

The investigation is continuing to build cases for the arrest of the five Finance Ministry employees as well as another individual believed to be involved.