Eco party chief sentenced for 37 years for trespassing on state land

The chief of the Greek Ecologists party, Dimosthenis Vergis, has been sentenced to 37 years and six months in prison after an Athens appeals court found him guilty of trespassing on state property and falsifying official documents to claim ownership of 452,000 square meters of land near Lake Marathon, northeast of the capital.

Vergis, a colorful figure who has made headlines with his antics, has also been fined with 150,000 euros, with judges saying that they recognize the fact he has never been convicted with a crime before.

The land in question is in the municipality of Aghios Stefanos and has been valued at more than 8 million euros. It has also been listed as forest land and belongs to the state.

Vergis had claimed ownership of the property by presenting falsified certificates that allowed him to build on it.

He was not present in court for the trial and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.