University fuel siphoned off

Up to 15 people are to stand trial on suspicion of siphoning off some 8 million liters of heating fuel from tanks belonging to Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, it was revealed yesterday. The university’s rector, Anastasios Manthos, said in a news conference that an internal investigation had revealed that between 1999 and 2004 five to 15 people, some of whom were employed at the institution, conspired to steal the fuel from the tanks. The value of the heating oil allegedly stolen could be as high as 5 million euros. University officials only discovered that something was wrong after the school switched to a natural gas heating system in November 2004. A few months later, the university arranged for the fuel remaining in its 250,000-liter tanks to be sold back to its supplier, only to discover that the tanks were empty. The findings of the internal probe have been passed on to to a local prosecutor who is expected to file criminal charges against the suspects.