There are as yet no indications that the death of newspaper publisher Panagiotis Mavrikos, who was burnt alive in the vehicle he was driving on an Athens highway on Thursday, was the result of foul play, a high-ranking police official overseeing the investigation told Kathimerini on Friday.
“We will wait for the experts’ report before we can reach a conclusion,” he said, adding that the examination of the remains of Mavrikos’s Porsche Cayenne had not yielded evidence suggesting that the 42-year-old was the victim of a criminal act. The police bomb squad said they had found no signs of explosives so far.
The victim reportedly slowed down on the Attiki Odos ring road while heading toward Elefsina, when he apparently abruptly slowed down, crashed into a divider and came to a halt, before his luxury jeep was engulfed in flames. Experts are investigating whether he slowed down because of a mechanical problem or sabotage.
Police said that the vehicle’s collision with the divider was not powerful and that they found signs of a gasoline leak on the scene.
The publisher of the Akropolis newspaper, who was on trial for blackmail, was burnt beyond recognition and his wife was said to have identified him from the jewelry found on the corpse.
Mavrikos was arrested along with two other journalists in February on charges of extorting huge sums in advertising from state-run companies, including the Athens water company (EYDAP).
Mavrikos denied any wrongdoing and was released pending trial.