The situation in Ios is out of control, where illegalities and corruption are not understood by laws or pandemics. While almost all citizens remained locked in their homes during the period of restrictive measures, certain business interests found the opportunity to continue urban arbitrariness for years.
Are these “bold policies for the protection of the environment”, as proclaimed by Prime Minister K. Mitsotakis, that allow workers in the midst of a pandemic to work to complete an illegal four-kilometer road without environmental permits between Papalis and T most of which even passes through the engraved coastline and through a marked rocky forest area?
All this is happening in Ios without a building permit and after two years of continuous complaints to the local Police, the municipal authorities, the Ios Port Authority, the Syros authorities and the Naxos Prosecutor’s Office, with the contractors acting undisturbed in favor of a specific businessman.
For the lasting environmental crime, which has been committed for at least five years on the island for the benefit of a network of companies of a specific Greek-American businessman, “Ef.Syn.” has published numerous articles and research in recent years (22/4/2019, “Occupied Ios”, 22/8/2019, “Business interests besiege the beaches of Ios”). But the illegalities continue, while in the Parliament came an anti-environmental bill to legalize and pave the way, among other things, for the complete transformation of the Aegean island into a bad-tasting private Disneyland in the style of Dubai kitsch.
On Tuesday, April 7, at the police station of the island, the resident of Ios, Italian professor at the University of Florence Andrea Bosco (Professor of History and European Integration of the headquarters of Jean Monnet) made a serious complaint about the construction of the illegal road leading to the bay Pope to the Three Churches in Ios. He immediately demanded a written stop sign to the Greek-American businessman and owner of huge areas of the island and at the same time to suspend the professional license of the owner of a concrete company, who was carrying out the illegal work, as well as the corresponding license of the excavator owner.
The Port Authority sent a signal for “any” illegal work and the Syros Forest Service is already pending many lawsuits for the opening of a road. It should be noted that despite the nine lawsuits of the Italian professor and despite the arbitrary construction of the road is prosecuted ex officio, because it is a spontaneous crime, the police of Ios, the Prosecutor’s Office of Naxos and the Police Directorate of Cyclades in Syros . Nor was the professional license of the owner of the concrete company revoked, although it was also requested.
The Italian professor Bosco, a member of the newly formed Save-Ios association (which already has dozens of members in Greece and abroad), has filed at least nine different complaints in the last thirty months about the construction of the illegal road, providing the necessary photographic material. At the same time, he recently sent a letter of complaint to the Ministry of Citizen Protection, the Prime Minister’s Office, but also to the Italian Embassy, in which he mentions even more serious issues than the illegal opening of the road:
“I would like to inform you of the fact that the purchase contract (4,569 / 7-3-2007) of the estate where Mr. Michalopoulos (ss. Greek-American businessman) opens the illegal road is under judicial investigation by the Naxos Court of First Instance, for fraud against the State. The attached lawsuit that I filed with the Ios Police Department on November 4, 2018 against SHARIVAN LTD proves that:
1) The surface of the topographic attached to the contract is four times the area mentioned in the contract, 2) The seller’s property titles include less than ten times the area mentioned in the contract and sold, 3) The area of land, which in the end sold to SHARIVAN LTD, is more than 40 times larger than the property of the original owner, 4) The taxes paid by SHARIVAN LTD for the sale were declared on the area declared in the contract, more than four times the area in relation to the area shown in the topographic, causing tax evasion of hundreds of thousands of euros. This is not a unique case, but only one of the six land sales by SHARIVAN LTD on the island of Ios, creating nuanced indications of widespread corruption. For all the above he informed the Naxos Prosecutor’s Office, he has filed a lawsuit on 4/3/2020.
Piggy Bank – Diakofto. Advanced work
A few days after the complaints, the road opening works were temporarily suspended, while the works for the construction of another luxury hotel on Papa beach are continuing normally.
In another pharaonic project of the same business interests in the area of Koumbara, during the Holy Week, some huge life-size styrofoam elephants appeared near Koumbara beach to contribute to the tourist development of the place.
At the same time, according to information from “Ef.Syn.”, On April 6, Thera Town Planning imposed a fine on the company 105 SA (related interests with Sharivan) totaling 122,365 euros for “construction and maintenance of arbitrary structures”, an amount of course insignificant in front of impending business profit and the environmental destruction of an entire mountain.
A well-known story, as the president of the Realtors’ Association, Andreas Zamanos (19.8.2019) explained to us, emphasizing that “we are not interested in this at all because the businessman pays these small fines and continues for the next disasters”.
With the encroachment on public land, illegal construction, destruction of traditional settlements and landscapes of special natural beauty in Ios continuing without the intention of serious controls by several competent authorities, the new danger is none other than the dramatic consequences of the pandemic on the economy. of permanent residents.
Life-size styrofoam elephants landed on Ios
Consequences that, as activists in the region fear, possibly due to the expected drop in tourist turnover, may favor the consensus of part of the affected local community towards the evolving “development projects” of dubious legitimacy.
In addition, during the pandemic, a private helicopter reportedly landed on the island about once a week. In the following days, the payments of several dozen foreign workers, mainly Albanians, who work in many of the island’s constructions, were made regularly.
It is worth noting that in his complaint, the Italian professor Bosco asks for the inspections of the labor inspectorate “as to whether the staff who works on behalf of the specific companies in the above illegal jobs are legally employed”.
It remains to be seen whether SEPE will finally carry out these audits. However, by coincidence, in the summer of 2018 the current Minister of Labor, and political head of SEPE, had dinner with representatives of businessmen in a restaurant owned by them illegally, according to environmental inspectors, a pool overlooking the bridge on the beach and the illegal Broken rocks of the coastline at Koumbara beach of Ios.
The investment market in Ios has unfolded with many means to date. In addition to the above, areas with incorrect topographic diagrams were purchased, presenting the smaller areas, for which criminal and civil lawsuits are currently pending.
At the same time, six other investment projects are currently underway, most of which concern five-star hotels and marinas. The problem that has been created on the island is now extremely complex and the State is required to intervene responsibly, albeit belatedly.