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Charges of Espionage Completely False, Says Arma 3 Dev

Arma3 developer Bohemia Interactive sent over a rather lengthy explanation regarding two of its employees currently being detained in Greece. The studio claims that rumors of espionage are completely false, that the situation is "unfortunate" and a "deep misunderstanding." Even the detainees, Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, are calling their arrest "completely absurd."

Last Sunday, the two Bohemia Interactive developers were arrested on the Greek island of Lemnos for photographing and filming a local military base. The two were reportedly in the area researching locations for Arma 3 which will take place on that specific island. However reports claimed that the two were being accused of espionage, and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

"It's been rumored that they entered restricted military areas or gathered photographic references of military bases in order to improve the visual fidelity of Arma 3, a PC game currently under development by our company," Bohemia Interactive said on Monday. "Far in advance of any formal charges - only hours after they were detained by the local police - many media outlets immediately suggested spying and, only one day later, specifically referenced Arma 3."

According to the studio, Buchta and Pezlar were visiting Lemnos on their vacation as tourists, not as game developers. Their holiday was a product of an interest in the island, triggered by work done on Arma 3 over the past two years of development. They did not enter any military areas, sand they did not take pictures of any military objects to be used in Arma 3... at least, that's what Bohemia claims.

"They took photographs and videos in public areas, as countless tourists arriving to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Greece may well do," the studio said. "These included a short video as they drove through the main road passing around the international airport, where in one short part of the video off in the distance some hangars and other buildings of the complex can be seen. It's very likely that many tourists may have pictures similar to those taken by Ivan and Martin in their own family albums, without being aware that they put themselves or their families at risk."

The actual in-game Limnos is close to completion, the studio added, and it's far from an identical replication of the real place. "It was heavily modified to fit the game's backstory, a purely fictional 2035 setting," the studio added. "It was rescaled to only 75% of the real island, and it does not attempt to display any real world military installations situated on the island of Lemnos."

Currently the two developers are being detained in Mytilene. "The conditions are tough, but the people we meet treat us fairly and correctly," they said in a message to friends and family. "It is all a completely absurd misunderstanding that will certainly be quickly explained. We mainly think of you, our families; you have to stay calm and not to worry about us. We hope we will meet soon."

Bohemia said that any form of support for its imprisoned colleagues and friends will be more than welcome. "Having traveled there, and after meeting personally with them both, as well as their lawyer who is fully acquainted with the Greek authority's investigation file in detail, we can assure you that these insinuations [of espionage] are completely false and without substance." the studio said.

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  • teodoreh
    "Rumors of espionage are completely false". Limnos Island is a strategic Hellenic island where Turkish spies (usually originating from EU countries) traditionaly try to obtain information.

    When two guys with maps about paths, infitrate into crucial military facilities, my question is "WTF did they though it would happen?". If they had tried this on other countries, they would be probably dead by now. And imho, if you don't respect the law of the country you're visiting, get prepared for the consequences, either if you are a spy or not.
    Reply
  • Pennanen
    Its kind of funny how the goverment even cares. Greece is an irrelevant country and their army is laughable. Just like most of europes countries. Whats the worst case scenario? Greece pays its debts? :D

    "oh yeah boy im gonna spy some greece army yeah serious information"
    Reply
  • falchard
    Actually if they did this in the US, they would probably be fine as long as the facility did not require a high level of secret clearance. We have tourists going into US military bases all the time with detailed maps taking thousands of photos. In secret clearance facilities they are well signed as cannot enter or will be shot and are usually in the middle of nowhere where you can spot someone a mile out.
    Reply
  • Greece has the biggest active military per capita in Europe, the biggest %GDP spending on military in Europe and 20th in the world for a country smaller than California. So no, their army is not laughable, one could say they take things too seriously. I've read that they had visited the island 2 times already in the past, got photos/videos and no-one bothered them. It seams third time's a charm.

    What would have happened if the same thing would have taken place in the states? Do you think they would even be allowed a lawyer under the patriot act?
    Reply
  • freggo
    ConstantineBBGreece has the biggest active military per capita in Europe, the biggest %GDP spending on military in Europe and 20th in the world for a country smaller than California...
    Now if only they had the money to gas up their aircraft :-)
    Seriously, Greece military power? Kinda like German Love songs :-)

    Reply
  • Pennanen
    ConstantineBBGreece has the biggest active military per capita in Europe, the biggest %GDP spending on military in Europe and 20th in the world for a country smaller than California. So no, their army is not laughable, one could say they take things too seriously. I've read that they had visited the island 2 times already in the past, got photos/videos and no-one bothered them. It seams third time's a charm.What would have happened if the same thing would have taken place in the states? Do you think they would even be allowed a lawyer under the patriot act?And look where that military spending has got them. They arent even having a war!
    Reply
  • teodoreh
    Now if only they had the money to gas up their aircraft :-)
    Seriously, Greece military power? Kinda like German Love songs :-)

    It's funny how people want to discuss things they don't have a clue about.
    Reply
  • teodoreh
    And look where that military spending has got them. They arent even having a war!

    LOL

    ps. It' like saying that in your village there was a sign for a dangerous turn on the road. But for 5 years there was no accident so you removed it..
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    teodorehLOLps. It' like saying that in your village there was a sign for a dangerous turn on the road. But for 5 years there was no accident so you removed it..It's a bit different when they're literally bankrupt while every other EU country has taken military budget cuts. Greece keeps on spending when they don't have anything to spend. It's no wonder they have so much unrest there.
    Reply
  • Device Unknown
    teodorehI was curious of how many msecs would pass since an idiot would bring economy on the matter, without even knowing basic facts. HAF is in the To20 biggest air forces in the world. Get ur facts straight before writiting an embarrising comment you idiot.. Actually they are 26th with 773 total aircraft (just 72 more than Iraq) US Air force has 16,253 just in the Air Force Branch alone, Marines/Navy have more aircraft than the Air force.

    As far as Total ACTIVE Military they are 29th with 177,600 active military (280k reserves) with the 5th largest active military per capita at 16.5% per 1000 people.

    So yes, as far as world militaries go, they are insignificant to most countries like China, USA, Koran and India. Greece has no innovations of their own. They are a consumer country.
    Reply