The man arrested at Thessaloniki international airport on Tuesday on suspicion of being the mastermind of the murder of Russian hitman Alexander Solonik and his girlfriend in Athens in 1997 may be a case of mistaken identity, it was reported on Wednesday.
The arrested individual, who was stopped by police at the airport on Monday afternoon after flying from Cyprus, appears to share the same name, father’s name and date of birth of the suspected mastermind, a 48-year-old Greek national from Georgia.
Solonik had fled his country to Greece using a fake passport, which he reportedly secured from the Greek Consulate in Moscow.
He was found strangled in the Athenian suburb of Varybobi. Three months later, police found the dismembered body of his 21-year-old model girlfriend, a former “Miss Russia,” Svetlana Kotova, stuffed in a suitcase.
In 2016, Russian hitman Alexander Pustovalov was sentenced to 24 years in prison for killing six people, including Solonik and Kotova.