NEWS

Gold smuggling case in jeopardy after main charge is dismissed

IOANNA MANDROU

TAGS: Crime

The indictment on which the entire case concerning a major gold smuggling network has been built on could collapse on Tuesday, after tax authorities confirmed that the main charge of smuggling is not applicable.

The charge brought against the suspects was exporting gold to Turkey without paying taxes through a network of pawn shops.

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

The unprecedented development unfolded after the lawyer of one of the suspects asked the investigative magistrate whether it has been certified by customs authorities that duties have to be paid when gold is exported to Turkey, to which the state revenue authority AADE responded negatively.

This means that the eight main suspects who have been jailed pending trial could be released Tuesday.

The lawyer of pawn shop owner Richardos Mylonas, who is one of the jailed defendants, has already submitted a relevant petition. A ruling is expected later in the day.

The head of the Athens Prosecution office, Evangelos Ioannidis, is reportedly examining the case to see whether the suspects can still be indicted on other charges, such as establishing a criminal organization and money laundering.

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