Doctors implicated in sex ring

The members of a major prostitution ring broken up last week had close ties with doctors who forged health certificates for foreign sex workers, as well as with certain police officers who are alleged to have facilitated the operation of the racket, sources revealed yesterday. The new insights have emerged over the past week, through the depositions of some 30 suspected gang members, 14 of whom testified yesterday before an investigating magistrate, and through the analysis of recorded telephone conversations between suspects. The evidence and conversations indicate that members of the ring, believed to have brought hundreds of women to Greece from Eastern Europe and the Balkans for prostitution, had cooperated closely and systematically with several doctors. The medics are alleged to have issued certificates giving a clean bill of health to sex workers with communicable venereal diseases. Recorded exchanges between suspects also suggest that certain police officers were paid regularly, and handsomely, to overlook the operation of the illicit racket. In one conversation, a suspect allegedly complains about paying hundreds of euros a month to various police departments for «protection» and additional payment to police for getting the heads-up on forthcoming inspections of strip bars and nightclubs. «Seven hundred euros a month to the directorate, 500 euros a month to the department of immigration, another 500 euros to the vice squad,» one extract reads. Last week, four police officers were arrested for their alleged participation in the sex-trafficking ring. The policemen are among 30 suspected ring members. Ten of these suspects have already secured their release, pending trial, after posting small amounts of bail and agreeing not to leave the country.