Two employees at Bohemia Interactive have been taken into custody on espionage charges, according to Greek officials. Confirmed by company CEO Marc Spanel (before the discussion thread in the game’s official forums was closed down for legal reasons), the employees have been charged with the photographing of army bases on two separate Greek islands. According to Greek news outlet News237, the employees were found with video and photographs of military bases in Lemnos and Agios Efstratios, and were arrested in the act of photographing the former.
“On the island of Limnos is a military air base,” wrote username Cyplon, “It is illegal to take photographs of this base, yet the ArmA development team are creating a 3D model of the base, most likely based on photos which they took illegally (as well as the satellite photos which aren’t illegal)…All this time the ArmA series has been based on fictional locations, but now have chosen to create a game on a real location.”
In an official statement from Marc Spanel to several news outlets, the company is claiming that the group in question was on vacation in the area, rather than participating in any sort of the alleged photography.
“We can confirm that two Bohemia Interactive employees, our colleagues and friends, were arrested during their holiday trip to Lemnos. They visited the island with the sole purpose of experiencing the island’s beautiful surroundings…Currently, all our effort goes towards supporting the guys over there, as well as their friends and families affected by this difficult situation. We sincerely hope that this is an unfortunate misunderstanding of their passion as artists and creators of virtual worlds.”
The group has been transferred, according to the Czech embassy, to Lesbos Island in preparation for a hearing which is set for sometime later this week. If found guilty, they could face up to the maximum penalty for espionage charges in Greece, which is a 20-year prison sentence. We will update with any further information as it is released.