A victim of a murderous ambush is considered a veteran of what is widely known as the “Greek Mafia.”
55-year-old Yiannis Skaftouros was killed early Monday afternoon by two assailants riding two motorcycles – some witnesses say a third bike was at the scene – who shot at him with AK-47 (Kalashnikov) assault rifles as they rode past his holiday home in the village of Skourta, in the regional unit of Viotia. Two more people were riding in the bikes.
Skaftouros’ 22-year-old daughter and a 45-year-old man, an in-law, were injured in the gunfire and have been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Skaftouros had often tangled with law enforcement agencies, having committed serious crimes, such as involvement in homicide, in the 2009 abduction of shipping magnate Pericles Panagopoulos, extortions, gang activities and arson.
He had been sentenced to life in prison but was released three years ago, benefitting from a law reducing prison sentences, voted by the previous Syriza government.
Skaftouros’ killers took advantage of his letting down his guard over the Easter holiday. He had always feared he would be targeted by other criminals and severely limited his movements. Whenever he went outside, he was with bodyguards. He made an exception for this Easter, going to his home in his ancestral village to celebrate with his mother and a small circle of relatives, letting his guard down. Very few people knew he would be in Skourta.
According to witnesses, two of the four men got off the bikes. Wearing their helmets, they entered the yard where about 10 people were dining, including Skaftouros and fired off numerous times.
Police, who have vordoned the place off, found 15 bullet shells fired from AK-47s, but also a 9mm bullet.
Police officers are saying, off the record since the investigation is ongoing, that they believe there was a contract on Skaftouros. This would not be surprising, since many “Greek mafia” leaders have died in recent years as rival gangs target each other.
So far, the shooters and the other bike riders have not been found.