Professors accused of books fraud

June 4, 1999

Greece's academic community has been rocked by two cases of alleged fraudulent practices. One involves over-invoicing for books and manuscripts paid for by the state, the other, financial mismanagement at the Pandion University of Athens.

The over-invoicing was only detected recently but took place during 1991-92 and 1995-96. High-ranking civil servants at the education ministry, four large publishing houses, their representatives and university professors are alleged to have conspired to charge higher than market prices for books and manuscripts and are facing criminal charges for attempting to defraud the state of an estimated Drs600-700 million (Pounds 1.6 million).

The amount involved in the mismanagement case at the Pandion University is close to Drs2 billion and relates to 1997-98. Large sums of money were allegedly paid to various firms without receipts or invoices, while contractors and other sundry creditors who have carried out projects are demanding payment for work that appears either to lack orders or public tenders as required by law.

The investigation started when the senate committee took office last September and it was discovered that there was not enough money to pay current liabilities.

Projects that should be paid from the current account were charged to a special research fund.

An audit uncovered alleged financial mismanagement and dereliction of duty by a number of university employees.

The case has been referred to the district attorney who is expected to bring criminal charges against several senate committee members as well as high-ranking employees of the university.

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