Greek and European Union authorities are investigating a US charity linked to left-wing billionaire George Soros after allegations that two of its members sexually abused refugees at an asylum center. Also under investigation is possible financial corruption by the two members.
In addition, Mercy Corps, a “foundation and corporate partner” with Soros’ Open Society Foundations, has put the two persons under investigation on temporary paid leave and is conducting its own probe into the matter.
“A comprehensive investigation of this allegation is underway, led by an expert in victims’ rights and, more specifically, with deep expertise in investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and exploitation,” reads a recently published statement from the NGO’s officials.
Meanwhile the European Union, which also is investigating the allegations, said last month it halted funding for Mercy Corps while its probe is underway. The EU said that besides the sexual abuse allegations, its anti-fraud office is investigating possible financial corruption by the two Mercy Corps members.
The allegations were first made public last month by the office of the EU’s commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, Christos Stylianides.
“We take a zero-tolerance approach to any abuse of the rights and personal integrity of all refugees and migrants as well as to any misuse of funds.” reads an EU statement.
The investigation is just the latest controversy around Europe’s on-going migrant crisis.
In February, a number of privately run migrant rescue vessels ferrying refugees and migrants between Libya and Sicily caught the attention of authorities in Italy who suspected that some of the fleet’s funding may have come from smugglers. An investigation concluded that there was not enough proof of any wrongdoing.