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Greek Ministry of Shipping: Fake travel certificates ring busted

Featured Greek Ministry of Shipping: Fake travel certificates ring busted

Three foreigners aged 42,42, and 41 were arrested yesterday by officers of the Regional Drug Prosecution Team (PODIN) of the Central Port Authority of Rafina, of the Special Missions Unit (K.E.A.) of of the Central Port Authority of Rafina, the Directorate of Security & Protection of Maritime Borders (D.A.P.TH.AS.) as well as the Crime Prevention Suppression Team (OPKE) of Athens, after utilizing information and coordinated police operation.

Those arrested are accused of violating the legislation on "Criminal organization", "about foreigners" and "Forgery of certificates".

In particular, according to the announcement of the Ministry of Shipping, in a control carried out by the above officials, after appropriate utilization of information and thorough investigations in a store located in the center of Athens, the first 42-year-old was arrested for possession of a total of one thousand three hundred and twenty one ( 1,321) travel documents, as well as identification documents (passports, identity cards, residence permits, residence permits, driving licenses).

Subsequently, from the pre-investigation material and with the assistance of the officers of the Directorate of Security and Protection of Maritime Borders (D.AP.THAS.) on an informational level, the involvement of two more foreigners, 42 and 41 years old, emerged, who during a police operation in the center of Attica, inside a travel agency, they were arrested as associates of the 42-year-old, in possession of electronic equipment, mobile telephone devices, cameras, as well as the sum of four thousand two hundred and thirty euros (€4,230,000).

The modus operandi of the organized ring, which facilitated the illegal transport of immigrants from Greece to European countries, mainly by air with forged – falsified – stolen documents, is described as follows: the first person arrested undertook to receive the forged – falsified – stolen document and then to buy tickets to Europe from the aforementioned travel agency. The arrested persons of the travel agency, who allegedly are also its owners, for each ticket they issued for the illegal transport of the irregular immigrant, collected 15 euros per head in addition to the value of each ticket. The 42-year-old gave them the order to issue the tickets departing from Eleftherios Venizelos and destined for Italy, Spain and Poland. The total expected benefit of the criminal organization from the sale of the travel & identification documents is estimated to exceed 1,000,000 million euros.

The Rafina Port Authority, which is conducting the preliminary investigation, confiscated all the above found items. The seized amount of money is to be deposited in the advance deposits and loans fund, while the seized travel documents - identification documents, as well as the electronic equipment are to be sent to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DIE), for further investigation.

Investigations at the information level continue by the Directorate of Security and Protection of Maritime Borders (DAPTHAS) in collaboration with the Central Port Authority of Rafina and are analyzed - all the evidence that has emerged is processed in depth, while at the same time the interconnection of the actions of the members of the said circuit with other members of organized circles with the same or similar criminal activities.