Russia criticises Greece after cleric sent to prison
Published 29/12/2011 | 05:00
THE abbot of one of Greece's richest and most powerful monasteries was jailed yesterday while awaiting trial for fraud in a land-swap deal.
The jailing of Abbot Efraim, head of the Vatopedi Monastery at Mount Athos, sparked a row with Russia, which described it as a breach of human rights.
Mount Athos monastery is venerated by Russians and the abbot recently met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Abbot Efraim (56) has been accused of masterminding a scheme whereby the monastery exchanged real estate with the government in return for more valuable land.
Prosecutors have alleged that the land swaps cost the Greek state tens of millions of euro.
The abbot denies all charges.