New fine of 132000 Euros to 105 SA for environmental violations in Koumbara area

The Regional Government of the Southern Aegean imposed a 132000 Euro fine to company 105 SA for twelve violations of environmental and building laws in the Koumbara-Diakofto area of Ios (decision ΑΔΑ ΨΛ567ΛΞ-ΩΘΑ published οn 10 May 2023). The violations were documented during an inspection by the Environmental Directorate of the Regional Government in October 2018.

The inspection of 2018 was a follow-up to that of 2016. The 2016 inspection documented eight violations. The report that contains the conclusions of the 2016 inspection was forwarded to the Public Prosecutor. In the ensuing trial, the legal representative of 105 SA received a suspended jail sentence of 16 months in the First-Instance Court of Naxos and a suspended jail sentence of 9 months in the Appeals Court of Syros. Our association was present in both trials and played an important role in supporting the accusations.

The inspection of 2018 took place because 105 SA prevented (illegally, of course) the inspectors who came in 2016 from accessing Diakofto. The violations that were documented in 2018 include constructions that are closer to the seaside than the minimum distance required by the law. Such constructions took place in the north, south, west and southwest part of Diakofto, i.e., everywhere!

We congratulate the Environmental Directorate of the Regional Government for the thorough job that they did, both during the inspection and with the report that they wrote afterwards.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer any such praise to the Directorate’s hierarchical superior, the Regional Councillor for the Environment. She did not sign the report for four full years, from April 2019, when the report was finalized, to May 2023! It was not possible to forward the report to the Public Prosecutor without her signature. Because of the delay, 105 AE will likely not face penal consequences for the environmental damage that was documented in 2018. This is because there is a five-year statute of limitations for environmental crimes.
Our association had sent a letter to the Regional Councillor for the Environment two years ago, alerting her to the delay and asking her to take action. We never received a reply. Fifteen months ago, we sued her for breach of duty. Perhaps the pressure that we exerted contributed to her signing the report.

Even though the report will likely not have any penal consequences for 105 SA, its signing is a positive development. The state recognizes officially and for one more time that 105 SA and its connected companies have violated environmental law.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe where reality is being inverted, we are reading that 105 SA and its connected companies are pioneers in protecting the environment of Ios and in bringing a new model of sustainable tourism in the island. A recent example is the article by titled “Ios is putting itself in the world map of environmentally friendly tourist destinations”. Reputable foreign media such as the New York Times and the National Geographic have published articles with similar content.

Greek public opinion has been reading with shock what is happening in Mykonos: the extensive violations of environmental and building law, the corruption of public servants, and the inability of the state to enforce the law. Ios is not Mykonos. It risks, however, becoming a kitsch version of it, run by a business monopoly.

The Greek state, which is currently trying to enforce the law in Mykonos, should endeavour to do the same in Ios before it is too late. The media, which are currently complaining about the lawlessness and environmental degradation in Mykonos, would do well to also inform their readers about the similar problems in Ios instead of publishing falsehoods and fairy tales.

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