ATHENS – Greek authorities said a review of university degrees claimed by Greek doctors has rooted out some frauds, including the director of a hospital on the island of Skyros, who came under suspicion because he reportedly owned a Ferrarri and a private jet.
Health Director Adonis Georgiadis said the re-examination of the degree certificates of the directors and doctors at the country’s public hospitals, which began at the end of last year, has led to an unspecified number of firings after it was discovered they weren’t doctors and got their positions with falsified qualifications.
The inspections, which are expected to be completed by the end of this year, led to the dismissal last month of a deputy director of an Athens hospital as well as the director of the Skyros hospital, who has vanished. Their degrees were fake, Georgiadis said. It wasn’t clear if they had any medical training.
The Skyros doctor was appointed in 2000 on the basis of a fake degree from an Italian university. It wasn’t reported who okayed his hiring or why degrees weren’t checked in the first place, or why it took so long for anyone to notice the fake doctor, Ioannis Kastanis, had a jet and luxury car on a small island in the Sporades.
It appears that the doctor in question amassed significant wealth and an investigation is under way to determine how this occurred,” Georgiadis told reporters, noting that authorities were seeking to establish the suspect’s whereabouts.
His supposed degree had been recognized by the relevant Greek authority (Dikatsa) and translations of the certificates were validated by police. However, the authenticity of certificates was never verifed.
The fraud began in 1993 when Argolida prefecture licensed Kastanis to practise as a doctor, enabling him to work at Patras Agios Andreas Hospital, and later, Skyros.
The Greek Ministry of Health started investigating him after a complaint was filed by a citizen. Health Inspectors Union found the school he cited, La Sapienza University of Rome had no registry of him as a doctor.
Besides all his certificates being fake, he also had three tax registration numbers and three ID cards. It wasn’t reported when he presented his diploma if anyone asked him if he spoke Italian.
He said he expects more fakes will be found. “It seems we have some additional findings in other parts of the country,” he said, adding that the checks of doctors’ and hospital directors’ school and degree certificates would continue.
It’s not uncommon for Greeks to get jobs based on fake credentials but the government, under pressure from international lenders, has only begun trying to find them in the last couple of years while firing other workers who were qualified.