Police net loan shark operation

Police appear to have broken up a loan shark gang in Larissa, central Greece, after they arrested three men suspected of lending money and charging interest of more than 400 percent. Larissa Police Chief Andreas Kountroumanis said yesterday that a civil servant and two Roma men, a father and son, have been arrested in connection with the alleged ring – suspects seen as being key to the operation. «Police efforts at breaking up the ring are proceeding well,» Kountroumanis said. «The arrests will provide an opportunity for many other victims who had not dared to report the incident,» he added. Police arrested the public servant as he went to pick up the first installment of a 300,000-euro loan given to a local businessman and were then led to the two other suspects. Authorities confiscated checks and cash to the amount of 376,000 euros. Police said that the suspects are believed to have charged a victim 150,000 euros in interest over five months for a 36,000 euro loan.