Police foil citizenship subterfuge

Police said yesterday they have arrested four women believed to have been in charge of a racket selling Greek citizenship to hundreds of illegal immigrants. The gang, accused of naturalizing at least 500 mainly young women from South America and Africa, allegedly operated by bribing Greek men to recognize the migrants as their own illegitimate children, police said. The suspects arrested include a 36-year-old woman from Sierra Leone and a 40-year-old woman from the Dominican Republic, who are also accused of coercing some of the migrants into smuggling drugs into the country. A three-month investigation found that the racket involved bribes being given to at least 20 Greeks to falsely confirm fathering the immigrants. Each of the Greeks was allegedly paid between 3,000 and 5,000 euros. A total of 93 people are suspected of involvement in the racket, including a foreign consular official serving in Greece, a Greek civil servant, notaries public and lawyers.