Did Golden Dawn leaders collect, trade or traffic illicit antiquities?

Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn’s Führer-principled organisation did not only function to commit mass murder and assassinations. It also served to conduct (and funded itself through) ‘extortion of migrant street salesmen and shop owners… smuggling… money laundering’ and a host of far grimmer crimes.

One of its MPs has been caught in possession of suspected illicit antiquities. It may have been a private collection but, in light of the mafia/militia’s apparent engagement in other trafficking and illicit trading, it may be evidence that the illicit antiquities trade was one of the means of funding its paramilitary activity.

Golden Dawn is a fascist militia and a classical mafia

According to (Kathimerini‘s paraphrasing of) the Greek Supreme Court’s deputy prosecutor, Haralambos Vourliotis,

the party operated subject to a strict hierarchy, with orders being passed down from the leader to deputy leaders and subordinates.

Each local organization was led by a five-member committee headed by a “cell leader” who took decisions relating to local activities while a parallel five-member committee took in trainees and candidate members ahead of their official induction to the party.

While Golden Dawn is violently racist,

the organization appointed migrants in some cases to sell various products, offering them protection and taking a cut of the profits.

A former member of Golden Dawn has stated that Nikaia district secretary ‘Giorgos Patelis’s team blackmailed foreigners who had stalls in municipal markets, in order to take cuts from garment sales and from the smuggling/illicit sale of cigarettes [Η ομάδα του Γιώργου Πατέλη εκβίαζε αλλοδαπούς που διατηρούσαν πάγκους σε λαϊκές αγορές, ώστε να παίρνουν ποσοστά από τις πωλήσεις ενδυμάτων και από το λαθρεμπόριο τσιγάρων]’ (and they even appropriated supporters’ donations of clothes for poor Greeks in order to sell them through the immigrants’ market stalls). But that is not all.

Kidnapping, sex trafficking, paedophilia and child pornography

The paramilitary-funding crimes included ’embezzlement [υπεξαίρεση]’, ‘serial robberies [διακεκριμένες κλοπές]’, ‘robbery [ληστεία]’ and ‘extortion [εκβίαση]’; ‘abduction [αρπαγή]’, ‘abduction of minors [αρπαγή ανηλίκων]’ and ‘involuntary [sic – forcible] kidnapping [ακούσια απαγωγή]’; ‘human trafficking [εμπορία ανθρώπων]’, ‘slave trading [εμπόριο δούλων]’ and ‘sex trafficking [σωματεμπορία]’; ‘seduction of children [αποπλάνηση παιδιών]’, ‘lecherous/carnal abuse [κατάχρηση σε ασέλγεια]’, ‘rape [βιασμός]’, ‘(indecent assault of or) lewd conduct with minors for profit [ασέλγεια με ανήλικο έναντι αμοιβής]’ and ‘child pornography [πορνογραφία ανηλίκων]’. (Some of those crimes, such as abduction and rape, may have been power-enforcement activities rather than profit-making enterprises.)

MP Giannis Lagos, ‘[who] is involved in processing [counterfeit/forged] cheques, for which he takes a cut, is also involved in offering “protection” to shops and in the trafficking of women for prostitution [μεσολαβεί για το σπάσιμο επιταγών και εισπράττει σχετική αμοιβή για αυτό, ενώ συμμετέχει σε “προστασίες” μαγαζιών, εκβιασμούς, καθώς και σε διακίνηση γυναικών με σκοπό την πορνεία]’.

Arms trading

In the house of a police officer who is connected with Golden Dawn, and who was arrested for ‘illegal dealing of weapon components through the internet [παράνομη διακίνηση εξαρτημάτων όπλων μέσω διαδικτύου]’, police found ‘a large sum of money that reached 100,000 euros’, so ‘the prosecutor ordered [it] to be a separate investigation into the laundering of dirty money, such as for arms trading [μεγάλο χρηματικό ποσό που φτάνει τις 100.000 ευρώ και γι αυτό από την εισαγγελία διατάχθηκε να γίνει και ξεχωριστή έρευνα για ξέπλυμα βρόμικού χρήματος, όπως και για εμπόριο όπλων]’.

A former member has submitted testimony that ‘the income of the organisation comes from arms sales, blackmail, smuggling and similar criminal activities [Τα έσοδα της οργάνωσης προέρχονται από πωλήσεις όπλων, εκβιάσεις, λαθρεμπόριο και παρόμοιες εγκληματικές ενέργειες]’.

Illicit antiquities collecting? Illicit antiquities trading?

During a search of MP Christos Pappas’s home (where, as in so many of the other searches, the police found a cache of arms), as well as Nazi militaria, the police recovered four antique Gospels, the possession of which may have violated antiquities law (‘τέσσερα (4) Ευαγγέλια παλαιού τύπου, για τα οποία ερευνάται η πιθανότητα να εμπίπτουν στον νόμο περί αρχαιοτήτων‘, which I heard about via Theopi Skarlatos (@theopiskarlatos)).

[Führer Nikolaos Michaloliakos’s home contained a Hitler ‘shrine‘. And Pappas had so many Nazi objects and Nazi tributes that his house has been characterised as a ‘Nazi museum [Ναζιστικό μουσείο]’.]

As yet, there have been no other finds of illicit antiquities so, if Pappas did have illicit possession of the gospels, it may have been an illicit private collection. However, considering Golden Dawn’s organisation and activities, it is at least seriously possible that they engaged in illicit antiquities trading to fund their paramilitary activity.

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