NEWS

23 people probed over gold smuggling ring released on conditions

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Crime

Greek judicial authorities on Tuesday ordered the conditional release of 23 suspects investigated over their alleged involvement in a major gold smuggling operation.

The accused are banned from leaving the country and two of them will have to appear regularly at their local police station. Two other suspects, who are Turkish nationals, were ordered to pay a 500-euro bail.

Police arrested 63 people last week on charges of exporting gold to Turkey without paying taxes through a network of pawn shops.

Authorities say they melted and recast gold and then used tour buses to send it to Turkey.

The owner of the shops, Richardos Mylonas, has also been arrested. He has denied any involvement with the two illegal smelting sites.

Among the suspects who appeared before the investigative magistrate on Monday is the alleged leader of the second gang accused of smuggling gold, and a VIP security detail officer who appears to have informed Mylonas over police moves.

Mylonas’ lawyer has argued that his client cannot be charged for smuggling gold because there are no tariffs between Turkey and the European Union.

The pawn shop owner is among eight suspects who have been jailed pending trial. 

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