Con artist peddles EU schemes

At least four entrepreneurs seem to have fallen victim to a well-worked scheme prepared by a 54-year-old man who posed as a European Union official able to approve large-scale investment funding programs, police said yesterday. Since September last year, the man would present himself to potential clients as an employee of the European Union’s regional development investment office. By preparing reports which he claimed were necessary to obtain the funding and by also soliciting bribes, the man managed to earn more than 150,000 euros in less than a year. One of his clients, police said, was from Thrace in northeastern Greece and was seeking a way to finance a 36-million-euro hotel complex. The businessman had handed over 80,000 euros to the alleged con artist for his services. Given the documentation found at the fake official’s office, police estimate that still others were also taken in by his scheme and that larger amounts of money are involved.