corruption by pengxiang


									id: 52342
date: 2/9/2006 11:09
refid: 06ATHENS369
origin: Embassy Athens
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full
text of the original cable is not available.

----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 ATHENS 000369


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2016

Classified By: Ambassador Charles P. Ries for Reasons 1.4 (b,d)

 1. (C) Summary. In his September 10 2005 economic policy
speech at the Thessaloniki trade fair, P.M. Karamanlis
outlined six major problems facing Greeks in their everyday
life. Although the list included issues such as crime,
poverty, unemployment, the very first item was corruption.
This would not surprise many Greeks, who openly express their
concern corruption is pervasive and appears to be getting
worse. Moreover, two major reports by the organization
Transparency International support this contention, with
Greece receiving the lowest rating of any of its EU-15
compatriots. The year 2005 saw an unusually wide range of
high-level Greek officials felled by scandals related to
corruption. These included a deputy minister of economy, the
Vice President of the Supreme Court and even the Metropolitan
Bishop of Attica (where Athens is located). Whether this
represents a laudable less-tolerant approach by the Prime
Minister and the society, or merely bad luck on the part of
the corrupted is unclear. Of greatest concern to this
mission, however, is the negative impact Greek corruption has
on U.S. firms attempting to do business here, particularly in
areas related to government procurement. Although many do
end up winning contracts, many others do not, and under
questionable circumstances. This is a problem post has
raised with the GoG and will continue to do so.
Unfortunately, it appears corruption is so deep rooted in
societal expectations that it will take years before
fundamental change will be seen. End summary.

TI: Perception of Massive Greek Corruption

2. (U) Transparency International (TI), the best-known
monitor of global corruption, publishes two major annual
reports, the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) and Corruption
Perceptions Index (CPI). The GCB is a public opinion survey
assessing perceptions and experiences of corruption that
measures petty and grand corruption (and compares corruption
with other problems in society), evaluates the extent to
which public and private institutions are considered corrupt,
determines where the public believes corruption's impact is
greatest, and measures bribery.

3. (U) The GCB results for Greece are striking: Within the
Western European grouping (represented by the EU-15 minus
Belgium and Sweden), Greece falls dead last in virtually
every measurement, as detailed below.

--------------------------------------------- -----
GCB I: Corruption in National Institutions/Sectors
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (U) Asked to rate the extent to which they assess the
level of corruption in fifteen different sectors, Greeks
produced rankings that were either the worst or next to worst
of any of their Western European compatriots. Greece's
rankings particularly diverge from the European norm
vis-a-vis corruption in political parties, the police, the
legal system, tax revenue authorities, customs, and
particularly religious bodies. Here is a summary of the
Greek results compared to the Western European average, by
sector, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1: not at all corrupt; 5:
extremely corrupt):

Sector                    Greece    WE Avg.
------                    ------    -------
Political Parties         4.1       3.7
Parliament                3.5       3.3
Police                    3.3       2.7
Legal System/Judiciary    3.7       2.9
Tax Revenue               3.8       2.9
  Sector                  3.4       3.3
Customs                   3.5       2.7
Medical Services          3.6       2.7
Media                     3.7       3.3
Education                 2.7       2.3
Utilities                 3.3       2.6
Registry and Permits      2.5       2.5
The Military              2.5       2.5
NGOs                      2.6       2.5
Religious Bodies          3.7       2.5
--------------------------------------------- --
GCB II: Effect of Corruption on Spheres of Life
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (SBU) Greeks also gave the lowest ratings among the
Western Europe group when asked the degree to which they felt
corruption affects different spheres of life, including
political life, the business environment and personal/family
life (in this rating, they tied for last place with
Portugal). Worldwide, Greeks were among a select group of
seven countries in which more than 70% said corruption
affected political life to a large extent. The others are
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bolivia, Israel, Peru, the
Philippines, and Taiwan. Particularly significant for U.S.
commercial interests, more than 50% of Greeks stressed the
negative effects of corruption on the business environment
(for U.S. business perception of the problem, see para.

Sector                 Greece     WE Avg.
------                 ------     -------
Political Life         3.7        3.0
Business Environment   3.6        2.7
Personal/Family Life   2.5        1.7

GCB III: Bribery

6. (U) Finally, a far larger percentage of Greeks, 12%,
admitted to having paid a bribe in 2004, compared to a
Western European average of 2%. The closest Western European
runner-up was Luxembourg at 6%. Worldwide, this placed Greece
in the second highest category of countries whose citizens
said they had paid a bribe in the previous year.

--------------------------------------------- ------
The Corruption Perceptions Index: Greece Lags Again
--------------------------------------------- ------

7. (U) TI,s second major report, the Corruption Perceptions
Index (CPI), is a composite survey reflecting the perceptions
of business people and country analysts, both inside and
outside Greece. The CPI rankings for Greece are based on the
Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Service and Country
Forecast, the Institute for Management Development World
Competitiveness Report, the annual report of the Merchant
International Group, the World Economic Forum,s Global
Competitiveness Report, and the annual report of the World
Markets Research Centre.

8. (U) For 2005, the CPI gave Greece the lowest rating
within the Western Europe group, with a score of 4.3. This
compares to the Western European average of 7.6 (on a scale
of 1 to 10).

--------------------------------------------- -----
TI Greece's Representative: Zafiris Hadjidemetriou
--------------------------------------------- -----

9. (C) Economic Counselor discussed TI's reports with the
organization's part-time representative in Greece, Zafiris
Hadjidemetriou, an attorney specializing in corporate and
shipping law. He attributed the unusually high level of
corruption in Greece, at least by Western European norms,
largely to cultural causes. Because of its deeply ingrained
nature, he said it was difficult to convince Greeks that
corruption could be changed: "Greeks are raised to believe
Greece is the &poor relative8 of the EU where Western
European modes of behavior don't fit. &Ti na kanoume,
Ellada einai8 (What can you do, this is Greece) is a
pervasive attitude resulting from Greece being cut off
physically and historically from the rest of Western Europe.

10. (C) Hadjidemetriou also noted the lack of trust within
Greek society, which even characterized relations between
close family members: "I've seen brothers break off
relations over business deals gone bad ) even members of the
same Greek family don't trust each other." This tendency, he
said, leads Greeks to assume others are trying to outwit
them, leading everyone to try to outwit others first. He
noted that one of the greatest compliments a Greek can pay
another Greek is to praise their &poniria8, or ability to
outwit others.

11. (C) Hadjidemetriou felt this dynamic also influences
U.S.-Greek relations. Greeks tend to see Americans, whom
they disparagingly call "Amerikanakia", as hopelessly naive,
and unschooled in the real ways of the world. In short, they
view Americans as utterly lacking in "poniria." Ironically,
this contempt for the individual American does not translate
into a similar view of American government, which is viewed
as possessing the ultimate in "poniria" and having caused
almost everything that happens in Greece. As Hadjidemetriou
put it: "The rise of the junta ) the Americans caused it.
The fall of the junta ) the Americans caused it. Turks in
Cyprus ) the Americans caused it..." He said he found this
disconnect a bit humorous if sad and felt it kept Greeks from
learning from American expertise in the areas of good
governance and business.

12. (C) Another way in which the utter lack of trust
manifests itself is in the Greek view of government.
Hadjidemetriou said "Government of the people, by the people
and for the people" is a concept utterly alien to the average
Greek citizen, who believes that Greek government officials
aim simply to enrich themselves. Hadjidemetriou related a
discussion he had with a Greek cab driver a number of years
ago in which he urged the cab driver to be a good citizen and
pay some taxes. "What for? I'm doing a good for the nation
) the more money they have the more power they will have to
screw us("

13. (C) Hadjidemetriou said the average citizen's contempt
for government was based on the experience many had
interacting with mid-level bureaucrats. Although corruption
in Greece was rampant at all levels, he said, it is
especially bad at the day-to-day level involving activities
such as obtaining building permits and dealing with customs
officials. These petty bureaucrats are very powerful, far
more powerful as a group than ministers, and it is almost
impossible to fire them (Note: the vast majority have
lifetime employment). The bureaucrats' power vis-a-vis the
average citizen is only amplified by an extremely complex
legal system that requires innumerable permits for even
simple activities. Of course, many of these laws were
developed by the very public servants who implement them and
can potentially be enriched by them. Hadjidemetriou felt the
bureaucrats' tendencies were only amplified by the highly
"productive" Greek Parliament, which Hadjidemetriou savaged
as being utterly incompetent: "The average Greek politician
is great at formulating complex laws that regulate things
that don't need regulating, and doing so in the most
complicated manner possible." The only potential corrective,
the court system, is unable to fulfill its function as Greeks
are hesitant to use it because they do not trust it to work
efficiently and honestly.

14. (SBU) Hadjidemetriou saw some room for optimism,
particularly when it came to the slowly increasing power of
EU law within the Greek system. EU law was helping change,
in some cases fundamentally, the way Greeks did business in a
number of sectors including corporate governance, consumer
protection, and the environment. Hadjidemetriou also pointed
to the positive influence of laws aimed at combating money
laundering. "Know your customer" laws were helping to root
out bribery and tax evasion in unexpected ways, he stressed.
He also cited the power of a younger generation of Greeks,
who believed in the benefits of individual initiative. These
young people were doing well independent of the Greek state,
which took them out of the closed circle of government
benefits and payoffs.

15. (C) As for the Karamanlis government, Hadjidemetriou
said the PM certainly said the right things, and ministers
such as Sioufas and Alogoskoufis spent enough time in the
opposition to see how things work and try to make
improvements. Unfortunately, Hadjidemetriou lamented, most
politicians, once they've been in power for a while, begin to
accept the system as it is. This doesn't mean they're
corrupt, just human. Although the president of TI was
impressed by Karamanlis when they met last year,
Hadjidemetriou said he was generally taking a wait and see
attitude vis-a-vis the ND government.

Embassy Observations I: 2005 A Bad Year
for Corruption in Clergy and Courts

16. (C) Although this Mission cannot claim to know the true
state of corruption in Greece, it is striking to see the
range of high-level Greeks who have been touched by scandal.
Starting with the government, in November 2005, the Greek
Parliament lifted the immunity of three of its members who
have been accused of involvement in bribery:
Petros Mandouvalos (independent, former ND): Accused of
bribing judges and money laundering;
Athanasios Papageorgiou (PASOK): Accused of favoritism in
granting loans while Deputy Governor of the Agricultural Bank
of Greece;
K. Badouvas (ND): Accused of violations of fuel storage
regulations while a businessman;
One deputy minister, Adam Regouzas, was forced to resign as a
result of having told a group of customs inspectors, not that
they should eliminate their request for bribes, but rather
moderate them. His term for the purpose of the bribes,
"grigorosimo" (expedited processing) has now entered the
vernacular as a synonym for corruption in the customs
authorities. It is important to note that Regouzas himself
is a former customs official.

17. (C) The Greek Orthodox Church has also been rocked by
serious corruption allegations. It suspended in 2005 a
senior bishop and an influential priest on the basis of
corruption allegations involving bribery, drug dealing and
sexual favors. The scandal began with the case of
Archimandrite (senior-level Abbot) Yiossakis, who was
originally arrested on charges of stealing from archeological
sites on the island of Kythera. As the case developed,
Yiossakis was also accused of serving as a middleman between
lawyers and judges in an alleged trial-fixing ring. Even
more damaging to the church, the scandal spread up the chain
of command to Metropolitan Bishop of Attica Panteleimon, who
was suspended for six months. According to press reports,
Panteleimon was caught on tape recordings in which he boasted
of being able to manipulate judges. A Director of the GoG's
Financial Crimes Unit told Economic Counselor that
Panteleimon was found to have more than USD 3 million in his
personal bank account. When interviewed on a local TV
station, Panteleimon explained that he was "saving for a
rainy day," to which the interviewer responded that the cost
of a rainy day seemed to have increased significantly.

18. (C) The legal system has suffered the worst barrage of
accusations, with 2005 seeing a record number judges
investigated, dismissed, and even jailed as a result of
corruption. Specifically, over the course of the year 13
justices were dismissed, and nine temporarily suspended from
duty. A further two were being prosecuted for money
laundering and receiving bribes. 17 others had been indicted
and disciplinary action had been initiated against 40 for
charges related to corruption. Most prominently, the Vice
President of Greece's Supreme Court, Achilleas Zisis, was
relieved of his duties as a result of having allowed a Greek
businessman on the lam to pay for the building materials used
in constructing the judge's holiday home on Crete. These
facts only reinforce Greeks' hesitation on relying on their
legal system for recourse against corruption they encounter
in their daily lives.

19. (C) As important as the "grand" corruption outlined
above is to Greek society as a whole, however, it is the
low-level corruption that most directly touches the lives of
average Greek citizens. Be it town tax authority officials,
local law enforcement officers, or any of a wide-range of
similar officials, post hears almost weekly stories of
corruption at this level of Greek society. As Nicos Kouris,
an Athenian venture capitalist with a house outside of Athens
told Economic Counselor recently, "I read about the big
corruption, but what gets me personally angry, and what has
gotten worse over the past ten years, is the low-level petty
corruption I encountered in the village where I'm building my
summer house." To give just one example of local-level
corruption, in August 2005 a trafficking in persons ring was
uncovered in Thrace that included three police officers --
two of whom were reportedly "high ranking" -- who were
accused of bringing dozens of women into Greece from Eastern
Europe. The case also involved a local mayor and members of
the mayor's staff.

Embassy Observations II:
Corruption in Non-Military Procurement

20. (C) From the Mission perspective, perhaps the most
worrisome effect of Greek corruption is its effect on U.S.
business interests. The depth of state intervention in the
economy means that there are a large number of state-owned
corporations including utilities, the armaments industry, and
transportation, where civil servants reign supreme.   Most
complaints FCS at post encounters involve procurement by
these organizations and directly by government ministries.

21. (C) The mid-level bureaucrats and technocrats at these
companies frequently write specifications that lead to
sole-source suppliers, they often deny approvals for products
that have been approved in the rest of Europe, and have
tenders canceled after financial and technical evaluations of
the bidders have been performed and made public. Very often
picayune and technical non-compliance with bid-requirements
is cited as the reason for cancellation.   Although clear
evidence is hard to obtain, the high frequency with which
tenders are canceled gives the appearance that evaluation
committee members are backing companies who would otherwise
have lost. The complexity, uncertainty and corruption of the
courts reinforce the tendency of spurned U.S. companies (or
their representatives) not to go forward with legal action
unless the grounds for doing so are ironclad.   On occasion,
according to U.S. companies, senior Greek officials have
acknowledged rampant corruption among mid-level Greek
bureaucrats as having influenced the decision against their
firms. Not surprisingly, Greece's reputation for corruption
reduces U.S. firms, reluctance to enter the Greek market.

22. (C) One U.S. company's bid on a $3.5 million billing
system for Public Power Corporation (PPC), a state-controlled
public utility, is a typical example of the kind of
shenanigans frequently faced by U.S. companies. In spite of
having the lowest price of any bidder (by 22%), and in spite
of having the highest technical score (by 12%), the firm
found out that the tender was canceled as a result of
objections lodged by another company about how the tender had
been handled. It is worth noting that this, and the many
other difficulties encountered by the firm in the tender were
mainly lodged by just one member of the tender committee.
Luckily, however, this story ended up as a success -- the
contract was signed February 2 -- as a result of repeated
interventions by the Mission's commercial section and a
series of five discounts offered by the firm on its product.

Embassy Observations III:
Corruption in Military Procurement

23. (C) Military procurement was long rumored to be rife with
corruption. Many believe PASOK Defense Minister Akis
Tzohatzopoulos in particular profited handsomely from large
defense acquisitions. To cite one prominent example,
Tsohatzopoulos is believed to have received huge bribes

associated with the GoG's sole-source procurement of German
Type 214 submarines in the 1990s. In fact, many Greeks
credit the former Minister's role in this sale as a key
factor in his new-found wealth. Unfortunately, the
widely-held assumption that no military procurement takes
place without corruption dogged the recent F-16 acquisition.
The Ambassador repeatedly and in multiple fora had to explain
that the Foreign Military Sales process left no room for such
24. (C) PM Karamanlis and MOD Spiliotopoulos have made ending
questionable acquisition practices a centerpiece of their
defense reform efforts. In late 2005, the Defense Ministry
introduced a series of reforms intended to enhance
transparency and ensure that procurement decisions are made
openly and solely based on military need. Although the
government faces a struggle in its effort to change
traditional practices and root out entrenched interests,
there are signs that the Ministry of Defense is moving
forward with the effort. The government's efforts to
investigate allegations of corruption under the government of
the socialist PASOK party have not been successful, with
inquiries stymied by parliamentary jockeying and accusations
that they are driven more by politics than by an impartial
search for justice.

25. (C) The situation faced by most U.S. defense firms
smaller in size and power than Lockheed in still not good.
One U.S. firm encountered the full force and complexity of
the MoD's tendering procedures recently when it submitted its
bid on a linear accelerator for military hospitals. The
firm's bid not only had the best price (by 28%), but also
received the highest combined price/technical score.
Mysteriously, MoD canceled the tender at the last minute --
after the firm's price had been revealed -- only to announce
its decision to "reinstate" the tender at a later date.
Mission has raised this issue with MoD repeatedly, noting
such practices are unfair to U.S. firms, which spend large
amounts of money creating bids that meet very complex Greek
tender specifications.


26. (C) Greek society as a whole suffers tremendously from
the inefficiencies related to corruption, which appear to be
endemic, and unlikely to be reduced significantly any time
soon. Although the Prime Minister's oft repeated rhetorical
stance against the problem is praiseworthy, it is going to
take much more to achieve a fundamental change in the way the
average Greek thinks and acts. One part of the problem is
that, where an American is likely to see a well-defined line
between corruption and legitimate business/political
practices, the average Greek sees a wide swath of shades of
gray. Using one's friends in high places to get something
done that otherwise would be impossible -- a practice called
"meson" -- is such a standard practice that it is sometimes
difficult for even the most forthright Greek to know where
the corruption line exists, if it exists at all.

27. (C) One might think that the presence of 70,000 plus
Greek-Americans in Greece with a knowledge of how things CAN
work -- i.e. in the U.S. -- along with a knowledge of how
things DO work in Greece, could change things for the better.
 Sadly, the Greek-Americans with whom we have spoken have
been unanimous in telling us the Greek system is simply
unredeemable. They tell us of trying to build homes in their
Greek villages and having to obtain endless permits from
local bureaucrats, who refuse to do their jobs without extra
remuneration. They cite customs officials who see almost
every import as an opportunity for personal enrichment. Many
tell us they tried hard to bring their American standards
back home with them only to give in to the "Greek way"
through simple exhaustion. It is these conversations above
all that make us pessimistic about our ability to reduce
corruption generally in Greek society over the short term and
medium term. Post will nonetheless continue to promote
transparency through public outreach efforts such as the
Ambassador's recent interview in an English-language paper in
which he promoted the idea of using e-commerce technology in
government contracting. In that vein, the Ambassador and
Mission staff will continue to promote aggressively a level
playing field in Greek government procurement that gives U.S.
firms a fair chance to win official contracts.

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 232326
date: 10/30/2009 16:31
refid: 09ATHENS1920
origin: Embassy Athens
classification: UNCLASSIFIED
DE RUEHTH #1920/01 3031631
O R 301631Z OCT 09
----------------- header ends ----------------



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Greece: 2009-2010 INCSR, Part 1

ATHENS 00001920 001.2 OF 007

1. (U) Greece's submission for the 2009-2010 INCSR, Part 1:

Greece 2009-2010 INCSR Part I: Drugs and Chemical Control

I. Summary

Greece is a "gateway" country in the transit of illicit drugs and
contraband. Although not a major transit country for drugs headed
for the United States, Greece is part of the traditional "Balkan
Route" for drugs flowing from drug-producing countries in the east
to drug-consuming countries in Western Europe. Greek authorities
report that drug abuse and addiction continue to climb in Greece as
the age for first-time drug use drops. Drug trafficking remains a
significant issue for Greece in its battle against organized crime.
Investigations initiated by the DEA and its Greek counterparts
suggest that a dramatic rise has occurred in the number and size of
drug trafficking organizations operating in Greece.

During 2009, the DEA and Hellenic authorities conducted numerous
counternarcotics investigations, which resulted in significant
arrests, narcotics seizures, and the dismantling of drug
trafficking organizations. The Greek court system and the Ministry
of Justice continued to lack databases for the case management and
tracking of convictions and sentences for traffickers. Greece is a
party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

With an extensive coastline, numerous islands, and land borders
with other drug transit countries, Greece's geography makes it a
favored drug transshipment country on the route to Western Europe.
Greece is also home to the world's largest merchant marine fleet.
While many of these vessels fly flags of countries such as Panama
and Liberia, it is estimated that Greek firms own one out of every
six cargo vessels and control 20-25 percent of cargo shipments
worldwide. The utilization of cargo vessels is the cheapest,
fastest and most secure method to transport multi-ton quantities of
cocaine from South America to distribution centers in Europe and
the United States.

Greece is not a significant drug producing country. However, in
recent years, Greek authorities have noted a rise in marijuana
production. Some of the Greece-based organizations involved in
marijuana production have exported large quantities of the drug to
countries in Western Europe, such as Holland. Greek authorities
estimate that annual production of the drug, most of which is
exported, appears to be well over 80 tons. Crete, Arcadia,
Messinia, Ileia, and Laconia are the top production regions, while
only Arta and Grevena appear to have completely clean records. Only
10-20 percent of the domestically grown marijuana is believed to be
consumed locally. Marijuana for local consumption is also imported
from Albania.

III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Greece participates in the Southeast European
Cooperative Initiative's (SECI) anticrime initiative and in a
specialized counternarcotics task force at the regional Anti-Crime
Center in Bucharest. Enhanced cooperation among SECI member states
has the potential to disrupt and eventually eliminate the ability
of drug trafficking organizations to operate in the region.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Several notable joint U.S./Greek
counternarcotics investigations occurred during 2009 with
significant arrests and seizures. Drug trafficking organizations
in the Balkan region, including Greece, usually transport Afghan
heroin from the Middle East and Turkey to Western Europe. Recent

ATHENS 00001920 002.2 OF 007

investigations and trends indicate more frequent and larger cocaine
seizures made by Greek authorities. In recent years Greek
counternarcotics authorities have had increasing success tackling
leadership elements in major drug trafficking organizations.

In October 2009, after domestic elections and a change of
government, Greek authorities reorganized their law enforcement
ministries, creating the new Ministry of Citizen's Protection
(MCP). The MCP gained oversight over the Hellenic Police and
Hellenic Coast Guard and all related counternarcotics divisions.
While the narcotics police do not have dedicated seaborne units,
the Hellenic Coast Guard has its own drug unit for maritime
interdiction. Specialized financial units work with customs
authorities for interdiction at ports.

In late December 2008, the DEA Athens Country Office received
intelligence regarding a container scheduled to arrive in Greece
from Colombia carrying a large quantity of cocaine concealed in
wood. The intelligence received indicated that this method was
highly sophisticated and the cocaine would be undetectable to both
trained canines and scanning equipment. This information was
passed to the Greek authorities and in early January 2009 they
identified the container and found inside eight pallets of plywood
totaling six hundred pieces. Greek authorities scanned the
plywood, using five trained drug odor-detecting canines, but none
of the canines detected the presence of cocaine. After conducting
a more detailed search, Greek authorities discovered four pieces of
wood containing 70 kilograms of cocaine divided into 285 packages.
On January 29, 2009, Hellenic police in Athens raided a cocaine lab
and arrested one person of Uzbek nationality and one Greek. Greek
authorities seized 2.95 kilograms of cocaine, 0.7 kilograms of
unprocessed marijuana, and 9.5 kilograms of white powder used to
"cut" the cocaine.

In early February 2009, Greek authorities made two separate heroin
seizures at the Greece-Turkey border crossing at Kipoi. In the
first case, authorities arrested two Bulgarian nationals and seized
57.8 kilograms of heroin. In the other case, authorities arrested
an Italian national and seized 38 kilograms of heroin. In both
cases the heroin was hidden in a vehicle attempting to enter Greece
from Turkey.

In February 2009, Greek authorities completed a two-month
investigation resulting in the dismantling of a family-operated
hashish trafficking organization operating in Greece. The
organization imported hashish from Albania. At the conclusion of
the investigation, authorities arrested eight individuals and
seized 160.5 kilograms of hashish and 437,455 euro (656,000 USD) in

On July 6, 2009, the Hellenic Police announced that they had
dismantled two drug trafficking rings and arrested eight foreign
nationals. During the first raid, police seized 5.635 kilograms of
heroin and 140 grams of cocaine. Police also raided a heroin
laboratory and discovered an arms cache with multiple rifles and 5
kilograms of explosives.

In July 2009, DEA Athens provided intelligence to the Hellenic
Special Control Services (YPEE) on five containers loaded with
scrap metal and shipped from Bolivia. YPEE x-rayed the containers,
revealing suspect metal boxes inside. Greek authorities discovered
a total of eight boxes, constructed of heavy seal and with all
openings welded shut, containing 457 kilograms of cocaine, divided
into 400 packages.

In August 2009, Greek authorities arrested five individuals
transporting marijuana in the eastern outskirts of Athens. The
marijuana came from Albania and was brought into Greece via the
island of Corfu.

ATHENS 00001920 003.2 OF 007

While Greek law enforcement authorities achieved successes in
making seizures and arrests, the Greek court system and the
Ministry of Justice continued to lack databases to track
convictions and sentences for traffickers. This lack of
information management capacity also hindered the ability of law
enforcement authorities to manage and complete complex, long-term
investigations in narcotics trafficking.

Drug Seizure Statistics, 2005-2007

Source: Coordinating Body for Drug Enforcement, National
Information Unit

Statistics are provided in this format: 2005 / 2006 / 2007

Drug Seizures (Cases): 10,461 / 9,873 / 9,540

Accused Persons (Persons): 14,922 / 13,963 / 13,253


Processed Hashish (kg): 10,209.28 / 74.964 / 4.833

Unprocessed Cannabis (kg): 8,004.04 / 12,314.205 / 6,909.688
Hashish "Honey Oil" (kg): 3.011 / 0.523 / 1.484

Cannabis Plants (units): 34,993 / 32,495 / 17,611


Heroin and Morphine (kg): 331.329 / 312.243 / 259.33

Raw Opium (kg): 1.680 / 0.314 / 24.891

Methadone (kg): 8.719 / 9.456 / 24.783

Codeine (tablets): 0 / 50.5 / 0

Other Opiates (kg): 0.023 / 0.419 / 0.005

Poppy Plants (units): 0 / 0 / 62


Cocaine (kg): 42.819 / 60.658 / 225.247

Coca Leaves (kg): 0.005 / 0.898 / 0.115

Amphetamines (kg): 1.11 / 0.05 / 0.112

Methamphetamines (kg): 0.09 / 0.006 / 0.066

Crystal Methamphetamines (kg): 0 / 0 / 0.079

Ecstasy (kg): 0.023 / 0.051 / 0.281

Qat (kg): 34.398 / 25.08 / 10.697

New Synthetic Drugs (kg): 0 / 0.288 / 0.047

Narcotic Pharmaceuticals:

Hallucinogens (kg): 0 / 0.83 / 0
LSD (drops): 120 / 146 / 2,880

LSD (tablets): 6 / 120 / 4

ATHENS 00001920 004.2 OF 007

Psilocybin (kg): 0 / 0.041 / 0

Tranquilizers (kg): 0.1 / 0.058 / 0.261

Barbiturates (kg): 0.003 / 0 / 0

Precursor Substances:

Ephedrine Hydrochloride (tablets): 1088 / 14 / 0

Sassafras Oil (liters): 0 / 0 / 3

Burgled Drugstores: 43 / 33 / 19

Drug Seizure Statistics, 2008 (Attica Region Only)

Sources: Hellenic National Police (HNP), Hellenic Coast Guard
(HCG), and the Hellenic Special Control Service (YPEE)

Drug Seizures (cases): 895

Persons Arrested: 1,129

Marijuana/Hashish (kg): 328

Heroin (kg): 296

Cocaine (kg): 3,246 (includes 3,210 kg seized by the French Coast
Guard, using Greek intelligence)

Coca Leaves (kg): 0.0059

Cash Seized (euro): 659,648 euro (989,000 USD)

Corruption. Officers and representatives of Greece's law
enforcement agencies are generally under-trained and underpaid.
Thus, corruption in law enforcement is a problem. In November 2007,
corrupt law enforcement officers and politicians were involved with
a large-scale, international drug trafficking organization that was
producing multi-ton quantities of marijuana on the island of Crete.
Subsequent investigation revealed that this organization had
exported large quantities of marijuana to Holland for many years.
In September 2008, a former Minister and personal aide of the Prime
Minister was convicted and given a 12-month suspended prison
sentence for intervening on behalf of a constituent who was growing

As a matter of government policy, Greece neither encourages nor
facilitates the illicit production or distribution of narcotics,
psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances or the
laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Agreements and Treaties. Greece is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and
the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. An
agreement between Greece and the United States to exchange
information on narcotics trafficking has been in force since 1928.
A bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty and an extradition
treaty between the U.S. and Greece are in force. In addition, the
Greek parliament ratified the U.S.-EU mutual legal assistance and
extradition agreements in September 2009.

However, in practice the Greek government refuses to extradite
Greek nationals and Greek-Americans to the United States, because
to do so would violate article 438 of the Greek penal code. The
United States and Greece also have concluded a customs mutual
assistance agreement (CMAA). The CMAA allows for the exchange of

ATHENS 00001920 005.2 OF 007

information, intelligence, and documents to assist in the
prevention and investigation of customs offenses, including the
identification and screening of containers that pose a terrorism
risk. Greece ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in
September 2008; Greece has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Cultivation/Production. Marijuana is the only illicit drug produced
in Greece. In November 2007, Greek authorities dismantled a
large-scale, international drug trafficking organization that was
producing marijuana on the island of Crete. Documents found by
Greek authorities indicate that the organization had been supplying
ton quantities of marijuana to countries in Western Europe for many

Greek authorities continued to discover marijuana cultivation areas
throughout 2009. In March, police arrested a marijuana grower in
Iraklion, Crete. In July, police destroyed 39 cannabis plants in
Messinia, in southern Greece. During the same month, police in
Athens destroyed 885 plants fed by an automatic spring irrigation
system. Police in Chania, Crete announced in July that they had
confiscated 1,493 cannabis plants and 11 kilograms of unprocessed
marijuana since the beginning of 2009.

Drug Flow/Transit. Greece is part of the "Balkan Route" and as such
is a transshipment country for Afghan heroin, and marijuana coming
predominantly from the Middle East and Africa. 2007 statistics,
released in 2008, indicate that one ton of heroin transited the
city of Thessaloniki--only 10% of which was confiscated by police.
In addition, metric-ton quantities of marijuana and smaller
quantities of other drugs (principally synthetic drugs) are
trafficked into Greece from Albania, Bulgaria, and the Republic of
Macedonia. Hashish is offloaded in remote areas of the country and
transported to Western Europe by boat or overland. Larger shipments
are smuggled into Greece in shipping containers, on bonded
Transport International Routier ("TIR") trucks, in automobiles, on
trains, and in buses. Some Afghan heroin is smuggled into the
United States by way of Greece, but there is no evidence that
significant amounts of narcotics are entering the United States
from Greece.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Drug addiction problems
continued to increase in Greece. According to 2006 statistics from
the National Documentation Center for Narcotics and Addiction, run
by the Mental Health Research Institute of the Medical School of
the University of Athens, 19.4 percent of the Greek population
between 12 and 64 years of age reported that they experimented or
used an illegal substance at least once. The most commonly used
substances were chemical solvents, marijuana, and heroin. There was
a surge in the illegal use of tranquilizers and, to a lesser
extent, Ecstasy pills, reflecting growth in the European synthetic
drug market. The government of Greece estimated that there were
between 20,000 and 30,000 addicts in Greece and that the addict
population was growing; approximately 20,000 individuals were
addicted to heroin, and 9,500 of this population used injected
heroin. Recent enforcement trends indicated a rise in the
distribution and use of cocaine within Greece and in Europe in
general. Cocaine use has tripled in Europe over the past decade.

Media reported in March 2009 that the Ministry of Justice and
universities in Thessaloniki faced serious problems testing the
urine and blood samples of detainees claiming to be drug addicts,
leading to delays in trials. According to the reports,
Thessaloniki police also experienced trouble storing samples.

Demand reduction programs in Greece are typically
government-supported; few drug prevention and treatment programs
with independent or private funding exist. The DEA regularly
conducts Demand Reduction Seminars for parents and students
attending local and international elementary and high schools
throughout Greece.
The Organization against Narcotics (OKANA) is a

ATHENS 00001920 006.2 OF 007

government-supported agency that coordinates the prevention,
treatment and rehabilitation of drug addiction in Greece. Besides
OKANA, other officially supported drug treatment organizations
include the Therapy Center for Dependent Individuals (KETHEA), the
"18 Ano" Detoxification Unit of the Psychiatric Hospital of Attika,
the Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki, the Psychiatric Clinic of
the University of Athens, and other public hospitals in Greece
which run joint programs with OKANA. OKANA operates 71 prevention
centers, 57 therapeutic rehabilitation centers (33 of which offer
"drug free" programs), and 24 drug addiction substitution centers,
offering methadone and buprenorphine. In 2006, 4,847 drug addicts
were treated (a 14% increase over 2005), and while 3,250
individuals were treated in drug substitution programs, as of May
2007 the waiting list was 4,000 persons. OKANA extended its
programs to new regions in 2007 and 2008 despite strong local
reactions against the establishment of treatment centers.

KETHEA operates 90 centers throughout Greece offering prevention,
support, and drug awareness programs, as well as social
rehabilitation, therapeutic communities in jails, street work
programs, training, and a hot line. KETHEA reported offering its
services to approximately 3,000 drugs users and family members each
day. Demand for these prevention and treatment programs continues
to outstrip supply. In June 2008, a Thessaloniki newspaper reported
that a lack of funding for drug addiction treatment and prevention
centers in the city contributed to long waiting lists for these
rehabilitation programs. The report indicated that 950 persons were
in treatment but that the waiting list was approximately 1,500
persons long.

Narcotics Anonymous runs over 27 drug abstinence and anti-addiction
programs throughout Greece.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA agents work with the Hellenic Police to
support coordination of regional counternarcotics efforts through
joint operations as well as training seminars. The DEA Athens
Country Office conducted multiple workshops throughout the country
with counterparts from the Hellenic Police and Hellenic Coast Guard
during this year. The workshops provided an opportunity for DEA
personnel and Greek counterparts to receive and exchange ideas on
various issues, including regional drug trends, the nexus between
drug trafficking and terrorism, officer safety and survival,
undercover operations, and confidential source management. The
workshops were well received by Greek law enforcement authorities
and the Hellenic Police has expressed interest in further events.

In February 2009, agents from DEA Athens organized a narcotics
cooperation seminar for Greek police, Customs, and Coast Guard
officers in Thessaloniki. In May 2009, a DEA international
training team traveled to Athens and conducted a week-long regional
drug enforcement seminar for Greek, Bulgarian, and Cypriot

Due to Greece's unique geographic significance as a border state
for the European Union (EU) with over 9,900 miles of coastline to
monitor, the DEA conducted an assessment of drug trafficking
through Greek islands over several months in 2009. The assessment
confirmed that drugs regularly enter Greece (and the EU) through
islands near to Turkey and Albania.

Prior to the DEA assessment, law enforcement authorities believed
that human smuggling and drug trafficking organizations may have
used the same routes, but operated independently. However, the
Greek islands study identified an emerging trend--illegal
immigrants are increasingly being used as drug couriers. The
assessment also found that Greek authorities assigned to Greek
islands are understaffed, under-trained, and have limited resources
to combat the threats they face.

ATHENS 00001920 007.2 OF 007
The Road Ahead. The United States continues to encourage the
government of Greece to participate actively in international
organizations focused on narcotics assistance coordination efforts,
such as the Dublin Group of narcotics assistance donor countries.
U.S. agencies in Greece seek to enhance the ability of Greek law
enforcement authorities to share and disseminate information,
disrupt drug trafficking, and build expertise in complex
investigations. The DEA will continue to organize regional and
international conferences, seminars, and workshops with the goal of
building regional cooperation and coordination in the effort
against narcotics trafficking.


To top