Greece is one of the poorest countries in the European Union and after the 2008 financial crisis its economy was bailed out to the tune of £259 billion. It will take decades for Greece to pay off its huge debts to the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
A Greek university is at the heart of a 1.1 million euro fraud investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
OLAF said a Greek scientist had used a network of international researchers to skim money from a 1.1 million euro grant the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) gave to a Greek university.
They said the money was to be used by “a promising young scientist” to run a project involving 40 researchers from around the world.
But when OLAF looked into the project they noticed the lead scientist – whose father worked at the university – was writing cheques to the individual researchers but they were being deposited into bank accounts with multiple beneficiaries.
OLAF said the lead scientist tried to obstruct a digital forensic investigation but the Greek authorities provided access to bank accounts which allowed investigators to piece together the fraud.
According to OLAF, the scientist had made herself a co-beneficiary of the accounts in order to gain access to the money which was supposedly being paid to the researchers.
The European Union is now seeking to recover 190,000 euros. OLAF has refused to name the scientist or the university involved.