A round of audits by Greece’s National Transparency Authority of pro-migration NGOs has revealed massive growth in recent years, with some receiving tens of millions of euros in revenue.
The authority claims around 320 non-governmental organisations relating to immigration operate in the country. It has been investigating the funding and operations of the various pro-migration groups and is set to look in detail at around 15 to 20 per cent of them in the first major audit of its kind.
According to a report from Greek newspaper Proto Thema, the early findings have revealed massive growth for some of the NGOs, including one that went from having 50 employees in 2013 to 1,050 in 2019. Another group reported no income five years ago and a whopping 23 million euros of income in 2019.
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“After a complaint and evaluation of data on the operation and financial management of private entities operating in the field of immigration policy, audits were carried out in five Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs),” the National Transparency Authority said.
Investigators are also looking at whether the services offered by the NGOs are proportional to the amount of money they receive.
Ten NGOs will be examined in the coming days that are much smaller than the ones already examined by investigators but have garnered particular interest for their activities.
The authority states that its goal is to have a total understanding of the operations of pro-migration NGOs operating in Greece by September of this year.
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Many pro-migration NGOs have operated in Greece since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015-16 and some have been implicated in illegal activity, such as Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI).
Members of ERCI were arrested in August of 2018 after it was alleged the group were helping illegal migrants get into the country, with Greek police labelling the group a “criminal network.”
In March of this year, several NGOs halted their pro-migration activity on the island of Lesbos after angry locals attacked them. Douglas Herman, the co-founder of the NGO Refocus, labelled the locals “fascist gangs.”
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