Greece’s organized crime under scrutiny

Greece’s organized crime under scrutiny

Amid a rise in the number of professional hits and turf wars, Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on Wednesday presented a multi-page report charting the development and structure of powerful criminal groups active in the country over the last decade to Supreme Court prosecutor Vassilis Pliotas.

According to ministry officials, Chrysochoidis’ move comes in the wake of recent events including the execution of contract killings and other attacks in the field of organized crime.

Chrysochoidis is seeking an in-depth investigation into organized crime in the country, similar to the “clean hands” (mani pulite) operation carried out in Italy in the 1990s.

Kathimerini understands that the file, prepared by security services in recent weeks, analyzes in detail the structure and development of organized crime in the country over the last decade. The report also contains the names of at least 500 convicted criminals.

“These 500 people have been arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison, but they continue to be active in organized crime,” a senior official at the Ministry of Citizens’ Protection told Kathimerini.

Some of those mentioned in the report have been killed in the turf war that has been raging for at least three years. They have been involved in contract killings, murder, extortion, pimping, drugs and more.

They form the 20 main criminal groups that are ravaging the country, while the report mentions several more “regional” organizations.

New names have also entered the fray, involved in oil smuggling activities and the competition for influence on the popular holiday island of Mykonos. 

Chrysochoidis’ reported aim is to launch, for the first time in Greek history, a wide-ranging investigation in the form of a preliminary examination, against all the groups and individuals mentioned in the report. To this end, he wants to encourage closer coordination between the police and judiciary. Moreover, Chrysochoidis has urged Pliotas to strengthen cooperation with local prosecutors.

Against this backdrop, the leadership of the Hellenic Police (ELAS) is seeking to conduct an investigation with the lifting of the suspects’ telephone and banking secrecy along the lines of the tried and tested strategy that dictates following the money trail.

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