More arrests in Greek crackdown on corruption: police

Three members of Greece's financial crimes unit and two police officers were arrested in separate incidents, police said on Saturday, in the latest crackdown on corruption in Greece.

The three members of the Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE), aged 58, 54 and 58, were arrested in western Greece for alleged extortion of a local businessman. One of them is a senior officer of the fraud squad, a police source told AFP.

Two police officers were also arrested in Athens on suspicion of blackmailing the 31-year-old Pakistani owner of a tobacco and food store.

The officers allegedly took the shopowner and his 43-year-old Bangladeshi assistant into custody on Thursday for purported health and tax violations and demanded money to release them.

A series of corruption-related arrests took place in Greece this week, including the arrest of a police chief for illegally seizing funds from a Pakistani migrant and the detention of another chief for attempting to extort money from a tobacconist.

Corruption is seen as a major problem in heavily indebted Greece, which is facing a sixth year of continuous recession and has been struggling under a harsh economic crisis.

According to the annual Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International, Greece is seen as the most corrupt country in the European Union.