Greek authorities have busted a major racket offering illegal naturalisations that helped dozens of Syrians and Lebanese immigrants to fraudulently acquire Greek citizenship.
The revelation came from the General Inspector of Public Administration Maria Papaspyrou on Tuesday during a radio interview.
“We had some information from the National Intelligence Service, which the special inspectors used to investigate and uncover what has been uncovered: foreign nationals have acquired Greek nationality for themselves and their families by claiming Greek descent from a distant Greek ancestor, a grandmother or great grandmother, born in the late 19th or early 20th centuries in Athens, who are shown to have married a Lebanese or Syrian husband abroad, 80 years or more ago. They supposedly had children and this gives rise to Greek descent…when, in fact, these grandmothers died unmarried and childless,” Papaspyrou said.
Most of the applications were submitted to the Epirus-Western Macedonia regional authority, in Ioannina and Florina, she revealed, using fake documents that were certified as genuine in Athens, by the same Athens municipality staff.
“It is a big ring,” Papaspyrou said, adding that the inspectors’ report on some 40-odd cases has been sent to a public prosecutor, while an investigation will now be carried out into the financial aspect of the transactions involved.
“We have recommended that all the above decisions to grant nationality be revoked, that disciplinary action be taken against the employees and that the report be sent to the Prosecutor for Corruption,” she added, noting that the staff involved will be suspended and sent before disciplinary