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Greece’s Financial Prosecutor Probing COVID-19 Ad Campaign

ATHENS – After complaints from the major rival SYRIZA about how state money was directed for COVID-19 ad campaigns to provide information about the health crisis, Greece’s financial prosecutor’s office is investigating the allocation of funds.

Sources not named told Kathimerini that the check has been ongoing since April 2020 with no indication why details haven’t emerged in a year and a half, the report saying that the investigation centers on the allocation of 31 million euros ($36.07 million.)

That was paid to various media to promote the New Democracy government’s information campaign but the critics said it went to outlets favorable to the administration as the government is also planning fines and jail time for journalists writing undefined “fake news.”

The probe is centered on possible criminal liabilities of staff employed by the company that was assigned with managing payments to various Greek media corporations, the country having a reputation for governments favoring only friendly outlets.

Investigations are specifically looking if there was any complicity in breaches of fiduciary duty and the legalization of income acquired through illegal activity, the report said.

The Financial Prosecutor’s Office launched the investigation following a lawsuit filed at the Supreme Court by 48 citizens in April that could potentially implicate political figures, the report added, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency ANA-MPA.

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