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article imageTop Greek court orders inquiry into handling of EU funds

By AFP     Oct 8, 2018 in World

Greece's Supreme Court on Monday ordered an inquiry into the handling of European funds paid to Athens to help the country cope with the migration crisis of 2015-16.

Prosecutors will open a preliminary investigation after a series of articles in the right-wing opposition press criticised what they said was government mismanagement -- and possibly embezzlement -- of the money.

Around a million migrants and refugees, many fleeing the conflict in Syria, arrived on Greek islands in the eastern Aegean Sea, just off the Turkish coastline, in 2015 and 2016.

Andreas Iliopoulos, the head of refugee intake operations, was among the sources of the allegations, and he referred to "illegal" transactions in an interview late last week with the daily Fileleftheros.

His boss, Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas, rejected the charges and called for his resignation.

Vitsas told the media that Greece had received 570 million euros ($650 million) in emergency aid, of which 68 percent went to aid groups and international organisations such as the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

The rest of the funds went to the Greek government, in particular the defence ministry which at the time was responsible for setting up around 40 migrants' camps.

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