ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A magistrate in Greece has ordered eight people jailed pending trial on charges of involvement in a major gold smuggling operation.
The eight include the owner of a network of pawn shops and his secretary. The owner, Richardos Mylonas, says he has no connections with two illegal smelting sites raided by police.
Pawn shops rapidly expanded during Greece's severe financial crisis.
A total of 40 people tied to the case appeared before examining magistrates Sunday.
Police arrested 63 people last week on charges of exporting gold to Turkey without paying taxes. Authorities say they melted and recast gold and then used tour buses bound for Istanbul to transport it.
Police say two separate but collaborating criminal networks were involved in the operation for at least two years.