First arrest on Schinoussa

The first arrest to have come about after the discovery of a massive haul of illegal antiquities on the island of Schinoussa took place yesterday when police took into custody the caretaker of the villa where the artifacts were found. Constantinos Grispos was arrested after four ancient amphorae, which allegedly had not been declared to authorities, were found at his home. Grispos, a former mayor of the island, was in charge of looking after the villa, which is now the subject of one of the biggest investigations ever undertaken by the Antiquities Department of the Attica Police. Grispos claimed he had fished the amphorae out of the sea himself, a police source told Kathimerini. His arrest is not being linked at the moment with the hundreds of antiquities at the villa. Police are also examining 17 albums found at the property, which contain photos of artifacts, and hope that they will provide clues about how the suspected international trafficking ring operated. A list of another 13 items identified and cataloged at the villa was released yesterday. It included three 12th or 13th century frescoes which officers suspect are on a list of items being sought by Italian police. Prosecutor Yiannis Diotis, who is in charge of the investigation, returned to Athens yesterday but another prosecutor, Stavroula Koutoulakou, remained on the island, south of Naxos, to continue questioning locals. Judicial sources said charges in connection with the possession and trafficking of illegal antiquities are expected to be issued after Orthodox Easter. Meanwhile, the passenger ferry Dimitroula sailed from Schinoussa for Piraeus yesterday laden with antiquities that had been seized from the property. The vessel was carrying 15 crates with 69 items inside. The artifacts were taken to the National Archaeological Museum and the Byzantine Museum in Athens for storage. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, meanwhile, has denied being linked to the case after Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis suggested that Greek authorities were examining whether there was such a link.