Three suspects arrested in connection with the assassinations of two prominent members of the so-called Greek Mafia were led before a public prosecutor on Thursday.
The three were allegedly involved in the murder of Yiannis Skaftouros in May 2022 in Dervenochoria and Vassilis Roubetis in a late-night ambush in the Korydallos district of Athens, in June 2023.
They are also believed to have been involved in the recent killing of 44-year-old Vangelis Zampounis, a known underworld figure, in the early hours of Sunday in Neos Kosmos.
More than 90 rounds from a Kalashnikov rifle were fired at Zambounis, considered a powerful figure in the Greek criminal underworld.
He was alleged to have led an extortion ring and to have been involved in cigarette and fuel smuggling.
In CCTV video circulated hours after the killing in the early hours of Sunday, a man presumed to be Zambounis is seen getting into an armoured BMW parked outside a petrol station which he owned in the Neos Kosmos area of Athens.
Another vehicle then pulls up behind the BMW. Police later established that it was a Lexus with fake licence plates stolen in Italy months ago.
Two men jump out. One, clad in black and sporting a balaclava, approaches the BMW and fires an AK-47 assault rifle at the driver’s window at close range, pausing only to reload.
The gunman then pulls a handgun out of his jacket, opens the car door and shoots the occupant once more, while a second man also fires several Kalashnikov rounds into the vehicle from the other side. Both then drive off in the Lexus. The burnt-out getaway car was later found by police on the outskirts of Athens.
The viciousness of the killing has generated considerable attention in Greece – not least because it was captured on CCTV and shown on Greek TV soon afterwards. Two police officers were arrested the next day for breaching official confidentiality and leaking the footage to the media.
Greek mafia members from countries of the former Soviet Union
The members of the group, ethnic Greeks from countries of the former Soviet Union, are facing three counts of murder, participation in a criminal organisation, and three attempted murders.
Police raids at their homes following the killings revealed heavy weaponry.
According to information, eight more people have been identified for involvement in the three murders. Two of them are said to have fled abroad and arrest warrants have been issued against them, while two more are in prison, one in Larissa and the second in Montenegro.
The murders, at least 23 since 2017, are seen by police as part of a turf war among gangs involved in extortion, a competition for control over the illegal trade of fuel and cigarettes in the Attica region, and other criminal activities.