The first six of a total of 15 individuals arrested during a police operation to break up one of Greece’s largest criminal organizations ever, which was reportedly coordinated from within the Athens Korydallos prison, testified before the Corruption investigator and were later released from custody.
One of them, the former wife of the organization’s mastermind and long-term convict, Panagiotis Vlastos, testified she had no involvement in the criminal organization: “I took a divorce from Vlastos four years ago. We do not have any relationship. I refuse any involvement,” she has reportedly claimed. As for the amount of the 332,000 euros found in her house, she explained “it comes from the sale of two properties that belonged to Vlastos’ father and is not a product of criminal activity.” Investigator and prosecutor necessitated the imposition of a 50,000-euro guarantee and a ban from leaving the country on Vlastos’ former wife. The remaining five defendants testified today, including the parents of Giannis Skaftouros, also a member of the criminal organization, who were released by the imposition of a ban from leaving the country and the obligation to appear at the police station twice a month.
Meanwhile, concerning the same case, detained Former Defense Minister and PASOK MP Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is facing charges for participating in the criminal organization and his alleged involvement in the bombing attack against the property of his former Defense Ministry associate Giannis Sbokos, claimed that “what is being heard, does not concern me.” It should be noted that he is already serving a sentence for his involvement in the defense procurement kickbacks and money-laundering case. Furthermore, the former politician underlined that “on May 6, 2012, the Papademos administration declared elections and the next day I was spectacularly arrested in my house. Today, just a few days before the elections, the outgoing governing ‘unholy’ alliance of PASOK and New Democracy, situated in a complete disability to stop the coming change, is again seeking spectacular, last moment initiatives of electoral and political feasibility, with me at the center, to overturn the climate. What is being heard, does not concern me. I directly denounce them as unsubstantial, constructed and ‘empty words,’ serving ephemeral political purposes.”
On her behalf, Vlastos’ cousin, Evangelia, also known as “Litsa,” a former member of his criminal organization turned informant in order to protect her life, when she came in rupture with the notorious criminal who allegedly ordered her death, gave detailed information about the gang’s structure and operation, including information on bombing attacks. Vlastos accused her of losing some of the ransom money from shipowner Periklis Panagopoulos’ kidnapping and wanted to revenge her. As she declared, the 1.1 million euros from Panagopoulos’ case are being kept by another aged shipowner from Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Finally, “Litsa” revealed that Vlastos’ criminal organization had links with arrested radical anarchists.