Greek police arrest dozens of illegal immigrants in broad sweep at Monastiraki Square

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69 foreign nationals were arrested by Greek Police in an operation that swept through the historical area of Monastiraki Square in central Athens on Thursday.

This was the the second such operation against illegal activity so far this week after the one at Victoria Square on Wednesday.

In total, some 380 people were stopped and searched by a 180-strong police force, resulting in two arrests for drugs-related offences and six arrests for illegal trading.

A total of 69 foreign nationals without Greek permits were detained and taken to the Amygdaleza deportation center.

Fines for 76 traffic violations were also issued, on top of 130 parking tickets, including the removal of 20 licence plates.

Police said these operations will continue in other areas in Athens.

Meanwhile, Greece’s financial prosecutor’s office have brought criminal charges of breach of faith and incitement to breach of faith against 13 individuals, including a bishop, over alleged illegal state funding from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), totalling close to two million euros.

The prosecutors are investigating whether officials working at KEELPNO at the time or other individuals benefitted from contracts signed between 2007 and 2009 for certain public information campaigns.

Nine of those charged were members of KEELPNO’s managing board.

The file includes 5 cases of grants, financial aid and other transactions paid by KEELPNO – which is under the authority of the health ministry and receives state funding – to companies as well as the Metropolitan (Diocese) of Kaisariani, Vyronos and Ymittos, whose bishop has served as Church representative at KEELPNO.

The main suspect in all five cases is the then president of KEELPNO, while the bishop’s name is included in two of the five cases.

Based on the charges, the diocese is said to have received 18 grants amounting to 749,000 euros in the space of 26 months for information campaigns ranging from the prevention of infectious diseases, to helping impoverished citizens and immigrants, and camps for children of refugees on the island of Tinos.

According to the findings of the financial prosecutors, the grants were not used by the Diocese for these purposes but were allocated to “vague charitable expenses.”

The files of at least 20 companies that cooperated with KEELPNO during the period in question have been sent to the competent tax authorities for an audit.

The case is a part of a much larger, complicated and ongoing investigation on financial mismanagement in KEELPNO that opened in 2012, following an order by the then financial prosecutor Grigoris Peponis.

Judicial sources have indicated that the evidence gathered by the three prosecutors handling the case occupies an entire room.

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