NEWS

Vergis, quirky leader of tiny party, arrested

Dimosthenis Vergis, the eccentric leader of the Greek Ecologists party, was arrested in the central Athens neighborhood of Exarchia on Monday having been convicted in absentia for fraud in June.

The 73-year-old had been sentenced to 37.5 years in jail for allegedly trying to claim 452,000 square meters of public land as his own. He was convicted in June of instigating fraud and forgery after producing doctored documents to claim the land in question near Marathon Lake, northeast of Athens.

Vergis, whose party has no connection to the Ecologist Greens, was known for posing naked in campaign literature. His party, formed in 1986, favors nudism and the legalization of cannabis.

The Greek Ecologists gained 5,583 votes (0.1 percent) in the May European Union elections and has never elected a representative to Greek or European Parliament.

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