Police in Thessaloniki on Wednesday announced they had unraveled a racket involved in illegal adoptions and egg trafficking, which they described as one of Europe’s largest and most well-organized.
Twelve people have so far been arrested on suspicion of belonging to the gang, which police said made a profit of more than 500,000 euros over three years.
A total of 66 people have been implicated in the case, including a lawyer and an obstetrician, who are among those arrested and believed to have played leading roles in the gang.
Those charged also include two private clinic employees involved in assisted reproduction, as well as two women already serving prison time for similar offenses.
The months-long investigation revealed that the racket recruited women as surrogate mothers and egg donors.
So far, 22 illicit adoptions and 24 cases of women accepting money to donate their eggs illegally have been identified.
The gang mainly exploited young Bulgarian women described as financially vulnerable.
The cost of the adoptions ranged between 25,000 and 28,000 euros and was covered by the adoptive parents – mainly childless Greek couples.