NEWS

Kavala robbery suspect held

A northern Greek businessman suspected of having masterminded four Mafia-style executions and a twin bank heist in Macedonia was charged in Kavala yesterday with attempted murder and inciting robbery after being extradited from Turkey, where he had fled with a gunshot wound in November. Under heavy security measures, Kavala native Andreas Chtenas, 45, was taken to the eastern Macedonian town from Thessaloniki, where he was flown after his extradition from Istanbul on the basis of an international arrest warrant. According to police, Chtenas accidentally shot himself in the leg during a gunfight with officers outside two banks in Eleftheroupolis, near Kavala, that were simultaneously attacked by a gang of six men with assault rifles on October 31. The robbers netted less than 3,000 euros before fleeing. Police arrested four Albanian suspects – whom Chtenas had allegedly specially brought over from Albania 10 days before the heist – as well as the businessman’s wife and son. Chtenas managed to cross into Turkey two days after the robbery using a forged passport in the name of Antonios Dimitropoulos. Once there, he was hospitalized – and subsequently imprisoned – in Edirne. Chtenas told Turkish authorities he had been shot by unknown assailants just inside the Greek border. He is also suspected of involvement in the June 16, 2001 execution of three men – two Kavala prefecture officials and a Hellenic Sugar Industry executive – in a holiday villa on the northern Aegean island of Thasos, and of another murder in Kavala last July. Police sources say a ballistic examination matched the 9mm gun allegedly used by Chtenas in the Eleftheroupolis bank robberies with the bullets used in the Thasos killings.