September 2nd, 2010 – In 2007 the British citizen Malcom Hay was arrested at the London City Airport on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Greek state. Malcolm Hay was accused of having stolen items he sold to a Greek dealer in ancient art in 1999 from the Greek state.
582 broken pieces and some minor objects – Hay calls them “junk” – were involved, for which the buyer paid 1.800 Pounds. Anyhow, these are the only objects, for which an invoice has been written. However, the Greek dealer claims she bought all objects valued at about 100.000 Pounds found in her shop from Mr. Hay.
This was reason enough for the Greek State to issue a European Arrest Warrant, which was naturally not reviewed in Great Britain. In fact, that’s the general idea of European Arrest Warrants: to pursue “criminals” cross-border. The authorities seem to not be interested in the fact, that in this case a warrant was executed, which was not applicable to British law. First, according to court papers in Athens the “crime” was committed in London and would have been subject to British legislation. Second, the apparent crime, “illicit appropriation of an antique object” is not even an offence under British rule.
Nevertheless, meanwhile a Greek court sentenced Mr. Hay in absentia to four years in prison. (By the way, the Greek antiquity dealer was cleared.)
Of course, Malcolm Hay has appealed against this verdict. If he looses the appeal, a new European Arrest Warrant will impend.
If you want to read the article in the Telegraph, on which this news is based, please click here.
If you want to learn more about European Arrest Warrants, please click here.
If you are interested in the legislation, here it is.