Beyond the substance, the affair of the pawn shop chain owner who is accused of contraband gold trading is fraught with negative symbolism which casts a heavy shadow on public life.

The case of a man who became rich in the midst of the economic crisis by exploiting the dramatic plunge in the standard of living of our fellow citizens exposed the entire state at the highest institutional level.

Beyond Greek Police, which appears to have handled the case inadequately, judicial functionaries who dealt with it, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who rushed to depict the arrest of the pawn shops owner as a success for his government, were also exposed.

If the arrest was a success for the government, then would not his release constitute a failure?

More importantly, why did the PM hasten to express an opinion on a judicial case that is still under investigation? Who were the people who did not shield him from such an embarrassment?

There is one answer to these rhetorical questions. The case of the pawn shop owner exhibits in the most jarring manner the crisis that exists at all levels of the state.

State institutions and the government are exhibiting alarming signs of a state in the process of imploding. The erosion begins at its foundations and reaches the very top, where institutions are supposed to act as guarantors of the authority and prestige of the state, but instead peddle counterfeit goods.

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