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8th May 2021

Arrested neo-Nazi Greek MEP will keep salary for now

  • Greek Golden Dawn co-leader and MEP Ioannis Lagos was arrested in Belgium on Tuesday (Photo: Wikipedia)

Greek neo-Nazi lawmaker Ioannis Lagos will keep receiving his MEP salary until the Greek state terminates his mandate, despite his arrest in Belgium on Tuesday (27 April).

"It is not for the [European] Parliament to strip him of his salary," a European Parliament spokesperson told EUobserver. She noted it depends on Greek national laws.

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If Greek law allows a jailed person to retain his parliamentary membership, then Lagos would keep his MEP salary.

"It will very much depend, for Lagos, on the decision for the national authorities [in Athens]," she said, noting the Greek state has to terminate his mandate. If the Greek authorities do terminate his mandate, they will then have to notify the European Parliament.

Lagos was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Greek court last October for his role in the outlawed neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. The court had declared it a criminal organisation. Lagos was one of its leaders.

He had been living in Belgium under the protection of his immunity ever since - all the while collecting his MEP salary and benefits.

He even once complained of not being able to pocket a €323 daily allowance due to Covid restrictions at the European Parliament.

Despite the imminent arrest hovering over him, Lagos was still allowed to vote, table amendments, and join in on public debates at the European Parliament.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Lagos announced he had been detained by the Belgian police - now paving the way for his likely extradition to Greece. News agency AFP later confirmed the arrest.

Speculation had been rife as to whether Lagos would flee, after he told the New York Times he was planning to go to another European country.

His Golden Dawn colleague Christos Pappas, also sentenced, has so far managed to evade arrest.

It is thought Pappas may be in Serbia, according to news website Vice.com.

Lagos had been pictured on Monday receiving a Covid-19 test at the European Parliament, a procedure sometimes taken before travel.

Later that same evening, MEPs in the plenary voted to lift his immunity.

The results of that vote was revealed on Tuesday morning. Some 658 voted in favour and 25 against.

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