‘Ecologist’ party head in land-grabbing row

The leader of a fringe political party, calling itself the Greek Ecologists, and four prefectural employees overseeing public property in eastern Attica face criminal charges in connection with the alleged misappropriation of a 42-hectare plot of public forestland near Lake Marathon, it was revealed yesterday. Dimosthenis Vergis, who appears on his party’s official website in a Robin Hood costume, is alleged to have illegally acquired the piece of public land in the early 1990s using forged documents. He, and the prefectural employees, face charges of fraud and forgery. Vergis had been convicted on similar charges in the past, receiving a six-year jail sentence, but he is alleged to have used documents – since proven to be forged – to secure an acquittal in a later trial. According to a prosecutor, Vergis has sued everyone who objected to his alleged use of the land.