Self-proclaimed billionaire to face slew of felony charges

Self-proclaimed billionaire to face slew of felony charges

The detained leader of a fringe ultranationalist movement called Convention of Greeks, Artemis Sorras, will appear before an examining magistrate on Thursday to respond to a series of felony charges, including setting up, being a member of and running a criminal organization, fraud against the State and banks.

Sorras urged Greeks not to pay their debts to social security funds and the taxman, claiming he had enough money to pay them himself, as well as the country's entire public debt.

The acts attributed to him along with the aggravating provisions of the law against state embezzlers  means he may face life imprisonment.

The case against him and his associates was opened in March 2017, after an investigation by First Instance prosecutor Evgenia Avlidou into the activities of the Convention of Greeks.

Avlidou has not been able to quantify the damage inflicted on state coffers by Sorras' followers as authorities have found at least  12,000 “Sorras payment slips” in tax offices alone.

The self-proclaimed billionaire was arrested on June 16, after 16 months on the run, on an outstanding warrant and has already been convicted in absentia to eight years in prison for embezzlement.

He is also facing indictments for money laundering, attempted fraud and lesser charges such as spreading fake news and inciting to commit felonies or misdemeanors.

Seven of his associates are also facing charges but have been released pending trial.

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