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Six Portuguese airmen held in graft probe

Published on 03/11/2016

Six Portuguese air force personnel were arrested Thursday as part of a vast graft and falsified documents inquiry, police said.

The suspects — a major, three captains and two sergeants — are suspected of overbilling military bases by potentially millions of euros for food.

“The difference was divided between the suppliers and the servicemen implicated in this fraudulent scheme which could have cost the state around 10 million euros ($11.1 million),” police said in a statement.

As part of an 18-month investigation, a total of 180 searches were carried out in a dozen barracks and 15 businesses in central and southern Portugal which led to the seizure of large sums of cash.

The airforce said in a statement that it was committed to “cooperating in complete transparency” with the police inquiry.