Four convicted in NGO scam; ex-adviser acquitted

Four convicted in NGO scam; ex-adviser acquitted

A three-judge appeals court on Tuesday acquitted Alex Rondos, a one-time adviser to former Socialist prime minister George Papandreou, over the alleged mismanagement of millions of euros in public funds by a nongovernment organization called the International Mine Initiative (IMI), which undertook demining operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Lebanon.

Eight people had been implicated in the financial mismanagement at the NGO, including Rondos, who headed the Foreign Ministry’s department for international development cooperation between July 2002 and January 2003 before serving as adviser to Papandreou.

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 and indicating that the signatures on certain documents approving the release of funding to IMI were not genuine.

The court also cleared three former ministry employees, while four other people – including a journalist and two diplomats – were convicted.

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