June 21st, 2017 19:13 GMT
Greece’s supreme court has confirmed a 15-year jail sentence against London Greek owner Panagiotis A Lemos over the fatal sinking of the 27,000-dwt bulker Albion Two (built 1976) 20 years ago.
Two lower Greek courts earlier found Lemos guilty over the 1997 incident, in which 25 seamen drowned when the vessel sank in heavy weather off the French coast. He received the heaviest sentence in Greek shipping history over “disruption of safety in sea transportation”, a charge connected to maintenance of the corroded ship.
Lemos was tried in absentia. Greek authorities issued in February an international arrest warrant against the octogenarian, who is believed to be a resident in the UK. The arrest warrant has yet to be executed.
Lemos, 87, is thought to have no assets, even though a civil court found him liable to pay €4.9m ($5.4m) in compensation about five years ago.
The octogenarian, however, has vowed to keep fighting against the Greek ruling. “Mr Lemos doesn’t accept this decision and is considering appealing to European courts,” his lawyer Kleomenis Papanikolaou told Trade Winds.
Greece’s supreme court did not go into details of Lemos’ argument, that the investigation which led to his conviction was marred by serious procedural errors. Instead, the judges threw out Lemos’ appeal after his lawyer requested in writing that the hearing be postponed, citing serious personal reasons that prevented him from being present.
Lemos ran London-based Panagiotis A Lemos & Associates. The case against him was brought by Piraeus lawyer George Trantalides on behalf of the families of some of the ship’s crew.