ATHENS – After a probe and audit of pensions, Greece’s Finance Ministry said it has eradicated fraud and that not a single bogus pension is being paid, despite evidence to the contrary.
A review of all the pensions being issued by the Greek state which started two years ago in a bid to weed out false claims has resulted in savings of 42.2 million euros, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said.
That came as he presented the findings of a General Accounting Office census which highlighted hundreds of cases of people claiming the pensions of their dead relatives.
Pension payments totaling 64.4 million euros were dispensed based on false claims, according to Staikouras, who noted that authorities were seeking the remaining 22.2 million. There were no reports, however, that anyone had been prosecuted for criminal actions.
Noting that the management of the Greek pension system has been made more efficient since 2012, Staikouras said, “Not one illegal pension is being paid out today.” He offered no proof.
According to the General Accounting Office, 3,423 pensioners were registered as dead at least six months before their names were removed from the state pension records.
In 358 cases, pension fraud exceeded 30,000 euros and in several cases the sum pilfered from state coffers was much larger. One instance relates to the daughter of a deceased judge who is alleged to have fraudulently claimed more than 300,000 euros and the son of a deceased cleric who pocketed 147,000 euros on false pretenses.