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NGO fraud worth 9 million euros investigated by police

Seven persons are being charged in a case of fraud concerning an NGO and a total haul of 9 million euros, with information implicating adviser to former PM George Papandreou, Alex Rondos.

As announced by police, on Monday, the NGO "International Mining Initiative" accrued damages to the state to the tune of 9 million euros, during the period 2000-2004.

As announced, the NGO president Konstantinos Tzevelekos.has already been arrested, while seven more people implicated in the affair are being charged, including the NGO president's wife, three active diplomats, and three pensioned civil servants.

According to first information, one of the civil servants is the Foreign Ministry's former general director of the International Development Cooperation Service (YDAS) at the time George Papandreou was foreign minister, Alex Rondos. The other two active diplomats are serving in Greek embassies in the Middle East and the Far East.

The charges refer to funding given by YDAS for de-mining operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon, and Iraq. According to the announcement by police, research into 20,000 pages worth of data revealed that records of operations were improperly kept, and invoicing was in foreign languages and not translated, while the requisite approval of local Greek embassies was not sought.

Mr Alexander Rondos was appointed European Union Special Representative for the Horn of Africa on 1 January 2012. Alexander Rondos was born in 1954 in Tanzania, on the eve of decolonization in Africa. Except for a brief period of study in the UK and work in Greece, A. Rondos spent most of his life living and working in Africa. He has a lot of experience working on the African continent as an employee of mainly American and British Non-Governmental Organizations/NGOs/. It is this more complex account that should attract the attention of African analysts and policy makers. Alexander Rondos is a Greek diplomat with extensive experience in diplomatic negotiations around the world. He has held senior posts in the Greek Prime Minister’s office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as in the World Bank. He has extensive understanding of Eastern African politics, having worked on several occasions during his career in the sub-region and beyond.

Mr Rondos has been on the receiving end of some extreme criticism from European quarters for what they perceive as a “sustained focus on 'democratic' upheavals and color revolutions; his pervasive urge in promoting Western strategic interests; and his tendency to measure evil and good through Western political values alone.”

In some ways criticism is leveled at his euro-Atlantic focus, which comes in contrast with what detractors believe should be a multi-cultural approach to Africa from the part of Europe. He is also attacked for his “long cherished loyalty to Greek and emotional attachment to the US and the UK.”

As a long time associate and friend says however: “He is the most powerful Greek within the EU structure, and obviously fully trusted.”