Golden Dawn MP quits party, says was not aware of 'criminal activities'

Golden Dawn MP for Larissa, in central Greece, Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, on Saturday announced he was leaving the ultranationalist party and would continue as an independent.

In a letter addressed to House speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, Alexopoulos said he had not been aware of Golden Dawn’s “criminal activities” as these have emerged from an ongoing judicial probe into the party.

“I reached this decision following a series of revelations regarding the activities of [GD] members, which have been defined as criminal, and which naturally I had no knowledge of,” wrote the Larissa lawmaker, adding that he and fellow comrades condemned these alleged acts. He conceded that he should have spoken out earlier but did not do so for reasons he would clarify at a later date.

Meanwhile, Parliament was expected to decide on whether or not to lift the immunity from prosecution of all of Golden Dawn’s MPs over charges of developing and running a criminal organization.

The case of the Larissa MP was expected to be discussed at the House tomorrow. His resignation from the party is not expected to affect parliamentary procedure.

Six of the party’s 18 lawmakers, including its chief Nikos Michaloliakos, are in custody pending trial.