Olympiakos, Nottingham Forest owner charged in drug trafficking case

Editor's note: The Associated Press issued the following clarification to this story on Aug. 2, 2019: In a story on March 24, 2018, The Associated Press reported that Greek ship owner and soccer club owner Vangelis Marinakis had been charged with drug-related criminal activity. The accusations, which Marinakis denied, followed a preliminary investigation and will not necessarily result in a trial. In Greece, a preliminary investigation is followed by a full investigation, which is currently being carried out by prosecutors. Their findings will be reviewed by a panel of judges, which will decide whether to refer the case to trial.

Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner Vangelis Marinakis says drug-trafficking charges against him are part of a Greek government-led "conspiracy" to silence dissent.

A prosecutor on Friday charged Marinakis, also a ship and media owner, for engaging in drug-related criminal activity. The charges stem from the 2014 seizure in the Greek port of Piraeus of a tanker carrying 2.1 tons of heroin.

Marinakis has been implicated by, among others, a businessman in whose house police seized &euros;30 million worth of heroin and who now is serving life in prison.

And in response, Marinakis accused the government of targeting him through friendly media, putting pressure on convicts to testify against him and accuses Greek judges of doing the government's bidding.

"The recent judicial action is a deliberate attempt at character assassination," he wrote in the newspaper he owns. "The allegations are fabricated and without any foundation in law or fact. It is a deliberate plot that has long been in the making and as such it is not only offensive, but quite simply criminal.

"I have never had anything whatsoever to do with the acts for which an investigative inquiry is apparently set to be restarted. It is clear to me that the results of any new investigation will confirm my innocence.

"I will not compromise, I will not capitulate, nor will I succumb to their dirty plan."