N17 ‘secret’ witness speaks

The identity of one of two «secret» witnesses in the trial of 19 suspected members of the November 17 terrorist group was revealed yesterday as Giorgos Tsernoglou, 40, after defense attorneys drew attention to the fact that prior to being given the code name B1, he had given the counterterrorist service his full name which had been included in his two preliminary statements. Tsernoglou, who witnessed the murder of former National Bank Governor Michalis Vranopoulos in Kolonaki on January 24, 1994, said he recognized defendant Dimitris Koufodinas as the man who shot Vranopoulos at the corner of Solonos and Lykavittou streets. Tsernoglou was getting onto his motorbike when he heard three or four shots and turned to see someone lying in the street and another man shooting him. «There was a short pause and then he emptied his pistol. Another person was waiting for him on a motor scooter. When they drove off, so did I,» he said. He added the assailant «moved fast, and his movements were agile, like those of a dancer. «I saw both men from close up. I am absolutely certain that the person who fired the gun was Dimitris Koufodinas. I think the other was Savvas Xeros. I am 90-percent certain about Xeros.» Vranopoulos’s driver Nikolaos Grispos, who was injured in the attack, could not recognize either of the two defendants. He said the former bank governor had received threatening telephone calls. Another witness, Ioannis Panagakos, recognized suspect Thomas Serifis as a man he had seen outside Vranopoulos’s office a few days before the attack. «I thought it was a friend of mine, so I approached him, but then realized my mistake,» he said.