8 Held for Gold Smuggling to Be Released after Magistrate Revokes Detention Orders

FILE - Εight people jailed pending trial on charges of involvement in a major gold smuggling operation, Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Eight people remanded in custody on charges of gold smuggling, including the owner of a well-known chain of pawn shops, are to be released after the corruption magistrate handling the case on Tuesday revoked warrants for their imprisonment ahead of trial. According to their lawyers, all eight are expected to be released within the day.

The magistrate proceeded to order their release after she was informed by the Independent Public Revenues Authority (AADE) that that no customs or tariffs are imposed for the export of gold to neighbouring Turkey.

Lawyers representing the accused were critical of the police force for proceeding with the arrests and charges without a sound legal basis.

In a high-profile police operation on November 28, 63 people were arrested for allegedly forming two criminal gangs engaged in the illegal export of gold from Greece. With the main charge of illegal gold smuggling dropped, however, additional felony charges of money laundering, forming a criminal organisation and usury – for which the law requires imprisonment on remand – are also considered without foundation, legal sources said.