Greek police made several arrests related to two separate olive oil fraud rings in the country’s two largest cities.
Olive Oil Theft Ring in Thessaloniki
Four suspects are accused of trying to sell soybean oil mixed with colorants as extra virgin olive oil in the town of Kilkis located just outside of Thessaloniki.
Law enforcement officials from the Kilkis and Paeonia Doiranis police departments collaborated on the investigation and managed to catch the suspects in the act after they filled five-liter plastic containers with colored soybean oil and tried to sell them to unsuspecting buyers. The suspects, aged 18, 23, 24, and 40, attempted to sell 1,000 liters of the soybean oil for more than 2,500 euros.
Police photo of suspected soybean oil labeled as extra virgin olive oil.
Officers charged them with fraud and they will appear before a court in Veria. The Greek Department of Commerce seized the oil to conduct a formal chemical analysis. The suspects apparently used various dyes to color the soybean oil, making it appear as extra virgin olive oil.
Arrest in Athens
In a separate case, Greek police arrested a 39-year-old accused of selling fake olive oil in Athens. The arrest was part of a three-month investigation into an olive oil fraud ring in the Ano Liosia, Aspropyrgou and Zephr districts of the capital.
According to various news reports, the suspect placed ads attracting businessmen to buy extra virgin olive oil. Once the businessmen agreed to buy the olive oil over the phone they were lead to various warehouses to complete the deal. In some cases, the suspect used physical violence when the businessmen became suspicious. Police say the suspect is involved in eight olive oil fraud cases, as well as several fraud cases in the Greek furniture industry.