Greece’s authorities have charged the harbour police chief of Thessaloniki port and another 17 people over alleged graft involving tugboat services to incoming vessels.
It is known, that the suspects include 6 state-employed harbour pilots, the owners of 4 tugboat companies and 7 company employees. All deny wrongdoing.
Police said on Tuesday (October 1) the arrests followed a complaint by a rival firm that tugboat owners, assisted by corrupt harbour police officials, misled visiting cargo vessels into hiring more tugs than were needed to bring them in to port.
Moreover, the complaint said, smaller competitors who lacked enough tugs were driven out of business.
Thessaloniki port officials claimed the crackdown hasn’t hampered harbour operations.
However, the suspects were arrested on Monday (September 30) in Thessaloniki and Greece’s capital, Athens.