Prosecutor and magistrate disagree on detention orders for gold smuggling suspects

The case of the eight people remanded in custody on charges of gold smuggling took yet another turn on Tuesday afternoon, after the Prosecutor’s Office disagreed with the corrruption Magistrate’s decision announced earlier in the day to revoke the warrants for their detention.

The lawyers representing the accused, who include the owner of a well-known chain of pawn shops, are preparing to appeal to the Misdemeanours Justices’ Council for their clients’ release. Once they do so, the Judicial Council will rule on the appeal within a few days.

According to information, the prosecutor appears to be weighing the evidence in the case differently from the magistrate, invoking previous cases of gold exports.The difference in approach reflects divergent legal opinions.

Earltier he corruption magistrate handling the case on Tuesday revoked warrants for their imprisonment ahead of trial. According to their lawyers, all eight are expected to be released within the day.

The magistrate proceeded to order their release after she was informed by the Independent Public Revenues Authority (AADE) that that no customs or tariffs are imposed for the export of gold to neighbouring Turkey.

Lawyers representing the accused were critical of the police force for proceeding with the arrests and charges without a sound legal basis.

In a high-profile police operation on November 28, 63 people were arrested for allegedly forming two criminal gangs engaged in the illegal export of gold from Greece. With the main charge of illegal gold smuggling dropped, however, additional felony charges of money laundering, forming a criminal organisation and usury – for which the law requires imprisonment on remand – are also considered without foundation, legal sources said.