Greek Prosecutor Probes for Organized Crime Ties to Wildfires

ATHENS – While wildfires that are were still tearing through Greece on Aug. 10 after more than a week were said caused by a volatile combination of a heatwave, neglect, arson and unlawful dumping, the Chief Prosecutor of Athens' Supreme Court will look to see if any are linked to organized crime.

The prosecutor asked for the opening of an investigation with an eye toward Greece's underworld which has been targeted by the police trying to break up organized crime after a spate of assaults and murders, including the daytime killing of journalist Giorgos Karaivaz in April.

High Court prosecutor Vassilios Pliotas' written intervention and formal request cites a "synchronized" eruption of wildfires around the country, ones of unusual intensity and size, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

He told judicial and police authorities to collect all information and evidence regarding the possibility of "an organized and centrally executed plan with unified actions by arsonists-members of a criminal organization…"

It wasn't clear what would happen as investigations into July 23, 2018 wildfires that killed 102 people have not resulted in any major prosecutions and been prohibited from being reclassified to felonies from misdemeanors.

An investigator said there was a cover-up attempt by fire brigade officials under the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA and that he was being stonewalled in a probe into whether there was negligence by government and municipal officials.


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