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Adoption agency in child kidnap probe


From correspondents in Vienna

Agence France-Presse

VIENNA'S prosecutor is investigating a local adoption agency amid allegations that it may have brought "stolen" children to Austria, the national press agency APA has reported.

The Vienna-based organisation, Family For You, is suspected of "illegal adoption procedures'', the prosecutor's spokesman Gerhard Jarosch told APA, adding that the investigation would help clear up whether the allegations were true.

Family For You was already the subject of an inquiry at the beginning of last year that was later called off.

Now, new evidence obtained in December 2007 means the case can be re-opened, Jarosch said.

In an article to be published Wednesday, the Austrian weekly Falter reports the case of a young Ethiopian girl adopted in Austria, who claims she was stolen.

The girl's real mother said a collaborator of Family For You in Ethiopia persuaded her to give up her child and that she received money from the agency, according to the magazine.

Falter also cites reports dating back to 2001 from Austrian diplomats in Vietnam and India expressing concern that Family For You collaborated with "dubious representatives'' or orphanages suspected of taking in stolen children.

Family For You's director Petra Fembek rejected any blame in a statement to APA, arguing that her agency only dealt with prospective adoptive parents while others took care of the children.

The organisation announced in July 2007 that it would cease its activities in Ethiopia, citing problems with the local authorities.

2008 Jan 9