Golden Dawn: live blog, October 1

Live blog on all the developments following the crackdown on Golden Dawn

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A live blog on all the latest revelations emerging from the investigation into Golden Dawn, four days after the arrest of the neonazi party's leader and five of its MPs

Golden Dawn MP and spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris (C) is brought in handcuffs to court, 1 October 2013 (AFP) Golden Dawn MP and spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris (C) is brought in handcuffs to court, 1 October 2013 (AFP) Four days after the arrest and subsequent charging of Golden Dawn's leader, five of his MPs and almost two dozen party functionaries and members with involvement in a criminal organisation, a steady stream of information is emerging from the investigation. We will attempt to post as much of that here as possible

16.00 Unfortunately, we have to leave it there, folks! Thanks for being with us today and we'll be back at around 2pm till late on Wednesday with more news. 

15.35 Two of the three minor Golden Dawn figures who were taken to court this morning to present their testimony have been released, on condition they not leave the country. They are Stavros Santorinaios and Dimos Fragkakis. The third, Theodoros Stefas, was granted a postponent until Thursday to deliver his testimony. 

15.20 The four Golden Dawn MPs have arrived at court to present their testimony.

And here a tweet from Dutch correspondent Thijs Kettenis:

Shortly before they arrived, one party supporter outside was chanting "Jews, journalists, traitors", according to Paul Mason:

15.15 While we're waiting for the four Golden Dawn MPs to arrive at court, let's take some time out to see what Nikos Michaloliakos' wife, Eleni Zaroulia, has been up to since her husband's arrest. She is also an MP and has been touted as a possible interim leader of the party if her husband is remanded. Within the party, she is known as "Frau Schulz".

Here she is on Sunday, spitting at a journalist who was trying to ask her questions:


15.10 According to Eleftherotypia crime correspondent Antonia Xynou, Ilias Kasidiaris will challenge the legality of the case against him – particularly the decision to lift his parliamentary immunity – arguing that this is politically motivated because he has announced his intention to run for mayor of Athens in the next municipal elections.

In addition, he will argue that the constitution of the party as outlined in a recent report from the Supreme Court deputy procecutor has nothing to do with the actual constitution of the party, which is deposited in Athens first instance court.

EnetEnglish understands that he will argue that the prosecution has used an older version of the party's rules, taken from a recently published history of the party.

He will also argue that his only role in Golden Dawn is that of party spokesman and that he is not responsible for training so-called "hit squads", as is claimed.  

14.45 Four of the six Golden Dawn MPs are due in court around now to face charges: Ilias Kasidiaris, Yiannis Lagos, Ilias Panagiotaros and Nikos Michos were to start providing testimony at 2.30pm. Journalist Nathalie Savaricas took this photo of what appears to be a small crowd of Golden Dawn supporters outside the Evelpidon court complex on Alexandras Ave:

And a tweet from the BBC's Mark Lowen, who is also at the court: 

And Channel 4's Paul Mason is also outside: 

14.20 One of the local Golden Dawn officials (but not one of the MPs) arrested over the weekend has been released after appearing before investigating magistrates in Athens, on condition that he or she not leave the country. 

14.00 In his cartoon for today's Eleftheotypia, Vangelis Papavasiliou looks at the thorny legal methods used to disclose secret service information on Golden Dawn recorded by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) over the years:

12.35 Α crime godfather, pimp and extortionist – this is how the he country's secret service identified Golden Dawn MP Yiannis Lagos from as early as 2011 – but nothing was done about it. According to a report seen by daily Ta Nea, the National Intelligence Service (EYP) had evidence that Lagos was involved in protection rackets, blackmail, trafficking of women for prostitution and in moneylaundering.

"Lagos is involved in processing [dodgy] cheques, for which he takes a cut, is also involved in offering 'protection' to shops and in the trafficking of women for prostitution," the EYP report states.

EYP, which began tapping his phones in 2011, also has information that Lagos has been involved in sexually harassing and exploiting women himself. He "has perverse tendencies, which comprise sexual fantasies and sexual acts with underage girls", the report records.

It also says that Lagos was found in possession of an illegally held Glock pistol when he was arrested on 26 July 2011 by detectives in Piraeus. The weapon was used in an unspecified incident in the former Yugoslavia on 1 May 2005 and later went missing.

The report also refers to two of his accomplices, both of whom have been arrested in recent days. One is a 25-year-old Nikoletta (Nikol) Beneki, a police officer who was arrested on Saturday. EYP maintains that she is his girlfriend and allegedly provided Lagos with details of police operations. It adds that her role within the party is significant, and that she had become an "ideological instructor" in the party's cell in Nikea, the district where Pavlos Fyssas was murdered a fortnight ago.

The second is 26-year-old Sotiris Develekos, the driver of party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and a member of Golden Dawn's youth wing. He was arrested on September 19 after being found in possession of weapons. EYP also maintains that Develekos provided Lagos with details on police activity, which he received from police.

12.05 Now for some depressing, non-Golden Dawn related news: Sprider Stores, one of the country's biggest clothing retailers, closed its shutters for good yesterday evening, with the loss of over 800 jobs. The company said it had no choice as banks stopped providing liquidity. In a statement, the company said it will endeavour to repay its obligations to its personnel.

11.30 Here are police photographs from the home of Christos Pappas, Golden Dawn's deputy leader, which was searched after his arrest on Sunday. As reported yesterday, police found an illegally held 9mm Luger pistol and a Colt .38 Special with a six-round cylinder, a bayonet measuring 53cm in length in total, with a 42cm blade; a brass knuckle, flags and helmets displaying the SS logo and swastika, wine labelled with images of Mussolini, photographs of Hitler and Nazi books as well as four old Gospels which Pappas may have held in contravention of the law on antiquities.

The photos (which could be from a "Carry On" film on the Nazis):

30-09-2013oikia_pappa330-09-2013oikia_pappa5 30-09-2013oikia_pappa4 30-09-2013oikia_pappa7

11.20 It seems that the police are not only active against Golden Dawn and, since the crackdown on the neonazi party, there have been a number of so-called sweeps in central Athens targetting migrants. Last night, in an operation in the Agios Panteleimonas and Omonia areas, police detained 483 people, arresting 46 of them for the possession of false documents and violations of the immigration law. Those arrested will be led before a prosecutor today. 

11.10 New Democracy has announced the expulsion one its members after he assumed the defence of two of the five Golden Dawn MPs. Lawyer Pavlos Sarakis, who was a candidate for New Democracy in Outer Piraeus in the June 2012 elections, took on the brief for Ilias Kasidiaris and Ilias Panagiotaros. In a statement issued late on Monday, the party's central ethics committee said Sarakis was being expelled for his "antiparty and unethical behaviour".

10.40 Most of today's newspapers have published the dialogues of 11 phone conversations between Golden Dawn members – and their friends and family – implicated in the murder of Pavlos Fyssas. The discussions were tapped by the secret service between September 21–25. The links below are to the relevant articles on Enet.gr, which are in the original Greek. 

1st conversation 21 Sept 2013

1st conversation, 21 Sept 2013

2nd conversation, 21 Sept 2013

3rd conversation, 25 Sept 2013

4th conversation, 25 Sept 2013

5th conversation, 24 Sept 2013

6th conversation, 23 Sept 2013

7th conversation, 21 Sept 2013

8th conversation, 21 Sept 2013

9th conversation, 21 Sept 2013

10th conversation, 21 Sept 2013

11th conversation, 21 Sept 2013

So how did the country's spymasters in the National Intelligence Service (EYP) go about eavesdropping on Golden Dawn members, for months as it has emerged following the murder of Pavlos Fyssas? Well, in 2010 EYP spied on 778 people in 2010, a figure that increased to 1,392 the following year, the then citizen protection minister, Christos Papoutsis, told parliament in Decembver 2011, adding that the evidence gathered played a significant role in tackling organised crime and domestic terrorism. He explained that in order for EYP to eavesdrop, its agents had ot obtain permission from both the judiciary and the privacy watchdog.

10.30 "The climate of fear is beginning to lift" following the crackdown on Golden Dawn, says Channel 4 journalist Paul Mason, who is in Athens covering the case. Here's the report he filed yesterday: 

10.00 A member of New Democracy's ruling political council has sparked controversy on social media over his comments on Golden Dawn and the death of Pavlos Fyssas, whose murder finally pushed the authorities into cracking down on Golden Dawn. Failos Kranidiotis, who is also an advisor to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, wrote on Facebook last night that he cannot condemn Golden Dawn:

"I do not curse patriots nor curse nationalists. I keep my 'bullets' for my real opponents," wrote Kranidiotis, who, since Fyssas' murder, has continued to support the so-called "theory of the two extremes" which seeks to equate Golden Dawn and Syriza. In the past, Samaras also articulated the same theory but dropped it following the murder.

Last night, neither Samaras' office nor New Democracy were prepared to respond to Kranidiotis' comments.

The comment follows an exchange on Twitter on Sunday morning in which Kranidiotis was reminded of that in December he wrote that the claim that Golden Dawn was stabbing foreigners existed only "in the imaginative and idiotic propaganda of 'progressive' journalism".

His retort was: "OK, that's how it is. Now you have the death you wanted but we've "cleaned up". So you no longer have your alter ego."

Today's front page of Eleftherotypia, EnetEnglish's parent newspaper, led with Kraniotiotis' latest outburst: 

9.15 More on those court appearances later today: Golden Dawn MPs arrested on Saturday will begin testifying before investigating magistrates specialised in corruption cases on charges of being leading members of a criminal organisation. The MPs who will deposit their testimonies today are: Ilias Kasidiaris, Yiannis Lagos, Ilias Panagiotaros and Nikos Michos. They are expected to be transferred to the court at 2.30pm.

Kasidiaris is to be charged as the "operations chief" of the alleged criminal organisation, meaning he was responsible for the training the members of the party's so-called "hit squads" which carried out attacks at street level.

Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos has been granted an extension and will provide his testimony on Wednesday, while Christos Pappas, the deputy leader of the party who turned himself in on Sunday, will testify on Thursday.

All six MPs will be taken to the Athens court complex from the Greek Police headquarters (Gada) on Alexandras Avenue, where they have been held since their arrest.

Also being called to testify today and tomorrow on their activities in the party are a further 16 functionaries and members, including two police officers, who were arrested over the weekend. That is scheduled to begin at 10.30am.

9.00 Good morning, and welcome to our live blog on day 4 of the crackdown on the neonazi Golden Dawn party. Today, the first of the Golden Dawn MPs arrested at the weekend will appear in court today to answer charges including murder, assault and money-laundering. 

A policeman rides his motorcycle in front of Golden Dawn and nationalist graffiti on a highway in the Peloponnese, 29 September 2013 (AFP) A policeman rides his motorcycle in front of Golden Dawn and nationalist graffiti on a highway in the Peloponnese, 29 September 2013 (AFP)

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