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Orthodox priest on trial in Greece for fraud with aid organization

In Greece, an Orthodox priest and his wife allegedly preferred to buy a property and jewelry with money intended for their aid organization for poor children. On Thursday, the judiciary initiated criminal proceedings against the couple for money laundering and embezzlement, and they now face...

Orthodox priest on trial in Greece for fraud with aid organization

The priest had founded an organization for poor children called Ark of the World, which his wife looked after. She is now accused of fraud, misappropriation of funds and money laundering. Her husband is to stand trial for incitement to these offenses.

The Greek news agency ANA reported, citing the investigation report, that the couple had made large, unjustified expenditures in the name of the aid organization. According to the report, they bought a property in Epirus in northern Greece and took two million euros from the assets of Ark of the World without spending the money for the purposes of the aid organization.

Investigators found watches and jewelry worth 470,000 euros in an apartment belonging to the organization that was used by the priest, ANA further reported. 300,000 euros from the organization's assets are untraceable.

Ark of the World had run homes for street children and children from poor families in Athens and other cities in the country. Investigations were launched in November 2022, which not only concerned fraud involving donations, but also allegations that children in the homes were subjected to violence and sexual abuse. The investigations into the alleged abuses are still ongoing. The Orthodox priest, who denies all allegations, is due to appear before a criminal court in Athens in April to answer for these cases.

The criminal proceedings mean a deep fall for the aid organization and its founders. Ark of the World, which had taken in hundreds of children in its homes, had received numerous awards. In 2018, the organization received the European Citizens' Prize, which is awarded by the EU Parliament. When the scandal surrounding the organization came to light last year, the Greek government completely replaced the management and board of directors of Ark of the World.

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