Media interviews used in investigation of anti-mining activists

Police file on forming 'criminal organisation' contains transcripts of activists with domestic and international media

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Police file includes telephone transcripts between Hellenic Mining Watch founder Tolis Papageorgiou and 11 newspapers, news agencies and websites, including Eleftherotypia, Reuters and the semiofficial Athens News Agency

Protesters at a march against mining activity in Halkidiki, northern Greece Protesters at a march against mining activity in Halkidiki, northern Greece Transcripts of telephone interviews and conversations with Greek and foreign reporters have been included the case file relating to the investigation of anti-mining activists in northern Greece suspected of founding a "criminal organisation".

According to the file, Thessaloniki security police claim Hellenic Mining Watch founder Tolis Papageorgiou, who has been leading a campaign against a proposed gold mine at Skouries, set up the "criminal organisation" under investigation.

Last week, it was announced that a total of 12 case files involving 210 suspects have been created by authorities investigating the opposition the mine, run by the Hellas Gold country. It has been reported that one of these cases concerns an arson attack on the company’s offices at the mine in February, another the clashes between protesters and police in May that led to one officer being injured.

Papageorgiou is expected to be called to testify as a suspect as early as next week. 

The telephone transcripts, which take up more than 200 pages of Papageorgiou's file, relate to conversations and interviews he conducted with 11 newspapers, news agencies and websites, including Eleftherotypia, Reuters, the semiofficial Athens News Agency, To Pontiki, Kathimerini, Dimokratia, Antenna, ERT3, ERA Komotini, Radio Kavala and Studio A, from March to August of this year. 

The content of the conversations are transcribed in full, as are the times the calls took place and their duration.

According to Papageorgiou's file, the purposes of the "criminal organisation" set up by Papageorgiou include the "influencing public opinion" through continuous media interviews with information "that did not reflect reality".

It added that the group's blog (antigoldgreece.wordpress.com) was also used in this attempt to influence the public.

The file said that the information disseminated contributed to generating the fearful climate in area around the mines, thus serving to "harm the national interest".

The file also said preliminary investigations suggested that the criminal organisation "has as its aim, through unlawful acts, to destroy or even temporarily suspend mining or other activity of the Hellas Gold company at sites located in the Skouries area and at Lakkos Karatza".

It added that these "criminal acts have the potential of damaging … investment in the country and the tourist environment".

The file contains the full transcript of an interview between Eleftherotypia journalist Sakis Apostolakis with Papageorgiou on 3 June 2013. The call, which was made at 1.20pm, lasted 6 minutes 25 seconds.

In the call, Apostolakis sought information from Papageorgiou about his trip to Canada at the invitation of Greek Canadian MP Niki Ashton in order to inform her and her New Democratic Party, as well as the Greek community in Canada, about the activities of Canadian company Eldorado Gold, which owns a 95% share of Hellas Gold.

Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of a case brought by Hellenic Mining Watch and Papageorgiou that the sale of state to the mining company was unlawful and contrary to the principles of the common market.

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