State lodges appeal against court rulings cancelling Hellas Gold fines of 1.734 mln euros

The Greek State on Wednesday filed appeals against the rulings of an Athens first-instance court that cancelled fines of 1,734,000 euros imposed on the mining company Hellas Gold SA for violating environmental regulations.

The appeals were filed with the Athens Administrative Appeals Court by the Legal Council of State, acting on a letter sent by Alternate Environment and Energy Minister Sokratis Famellos. According to the minister, the ministry aims to defend the public interest and uphold European and national environmental law.

Explaining the decision to appeal, the ministry said the court ruling had not cancelled the fines because it disputed that environmental regulations had been flouted but for technical reasons, on the grounds that the firm was not notified of the fines within a reasonable space of time, namely 33 months. The ministry disputes the existence of a time limit for imposing fines, noting that the time limit applies to conducting the inspection so that measures can be taken promptly to protect the environment.