Laundering probe hobbled

The head of a committee set up to crack down on the country’s black market economy said yesterday that the absence of adequate staff and infrastructure were hampering its ability to operate effectively. The committee, whose aim is ostensibly to trace attempts to launder profits from criminal activities and funds for domestic terrorism, investigated 2,049 complaints last year with a staff of just 28 people, according to Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Stelios Grozos. The law dictates that such a task force should be staffed by at least 50 people, Grozos told Parliament’s transparency committee. «I started with 18 people in September 2008 and, only after great effort, managed to recruit another 10,» he said. Grozos also highlighted the absence of an electronic database, making the cross-referencing of cases virtually impossible. He said requests for economic analysts from the Finance Ministry to contribute to the committee’s efforts had gone unheeded.

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