Eight railway executives in Greece are on the hook for criminal charges related to the non-execution of a railway maintenance work contract valued at 5.5 million euros and for failing to collect leases in 2017-2018 that resulted in 2.5 million euros in lost revenue.

The Background

The report at TO VIMA comes a few months after the European Public Prosecutor’s Office charged 23 persons for crimes related to a contract, known as Contract 717, that should have restored the remote traffic control and signaling systems on the Greek rail network.

In the EPPO case, 18 of the 23 persons are public officials and EPPO alleges that the actions of the officials led the Greek state to lose 15.6 million euros.

The broad range of chronic mismanagement of Greece’s railway network is considered to have played a key role in the Tempi train disaster of February 28, 2023, which killed 57 people, mostly students.

Since the accident, Greece’s incumbent New Democracy party has been accused of a conducting a cover-up over the causes of the accident, including accusations that an audio tape recording of the accident had been tampered with, which resulted in an eventual No Confidence vote in the Greek Parliament.

The New Charges

The newest set of charges connected to Greece’s railway system come after a preliminary investigation conducted by Greece’s Financial Prosecutor’s Office, which is part of the Ministry of Justice of the country.

According to reports at TO VIMA, the case file at hand shows that a 5.5 million euro contract related to the maintenance of trains had been paid, but there is no certification of completion to evidence that the works had actually be done.

Furthermore, it alleges that the officials continually extended leases without ensuring that the rents were collected between 2017-2018, resulting in a loss in revenue of 2.5 million euros.

The 8 officials that face charges belonged to GaiaOSE, a state-run company that manages railway-linked real estate, TrainOSE and the Hellenic Railway Rolling Stock Maintenance Company (ROSCO), says TO VIMA.