NEWS

Police linked to major sex ring

Four police officers have been arrested for their alleged participation in a sex-trafficking ring that is believed to have brought hundreds of women to Greece from Eastern Europe and the Balkans for prostitution. The policemen were among 25 suspected members of the ring who were arrested in an operation involving over 150 officers, while a total of 42 people are being sought in Greece and abroad in connection with the gang’s activities. Among those arrested is the man believed to be the gang boss, known by the nickname «Fats,» who reportedly owns eight strip clubs in Attica. The four officers arrested are believed to have received payments in return for tipping off the gang leaders about forthcoming police raids on the nightclubs and brothels under their control. Two of the four had been prosecuted in the past. One was convicted and dismissed from the force after being found guilty of participating in protection rackets. But he was subsequently reinstated after being acquitted by an appeals court. The second officer was also facing dismissal, but the relevant decision was not enforced pending his appeal. Speaking to reporters after the massive police operation, Attica Police Chief Brigadier Yiannis Dikopoulos said the gang had been operating for at least six months and had connections abroad. Some of the proceeds from its illegal activities were invested in lawful businesses in Greece while the rest was laundered through car and luxury yacht dealers, a coffeeshop and nightclubs. Dikopoulos warned that «zero tolerance» would be shown to cases of corruption within the force. During the course of the months-long investigation and police raids, officers seized two luxury yachts, each 20 meters in length, over 60,000 euros, 47 cell phones, four laptop computers and two external hard disks. Those arrested appeared before a public prosecutor in Athens yesterday.