Five employees of the tax bureau in the south-central city of Halkida, including its director, along with another two individuals were arrested on Wednesday inside their offices on charges of blackmail, bribery and corruption.

The seven civil servants were then led before local prosecutors in the city’s courthouse, with some of the suspects covering their heads with hoods as reporters and camera crews waited outside.

According to a police announcement, the tax bureau employees targeted specific individuals who were due to face an audit, and demanding money in return for cancelling the inspections. The two private individuals were identified as local accountants.

Authorities cited 17 instances of criminal wrongdoing and involving bribes and blackmail money reaching almost 100,000 euros.

A later announcement by the independent tax authority (AADE) said the five tax bureau employees were temporarily suspended and that a disciplinary investigation ordered.