NEWS

Psomiadis arrested after two months on the run

One of Greece?s most wanted men, soccer club owner Makis Psomiadis, was arrested when the anti-terrorist squad raided a house in southeastern Attica on Thursday after he?d spent two months on the run.

Psomiadis was wanted in connection to a large match-fixing ring that was uncovered this summer. More than 80 people were charged with colluding to fix the outcome of soccer matches in the Greek Super League and lower divisions so they could profit by betting on the games. Those arrested including Psomiadis?s son, Stavros, who is the chairman of Kavala, the club his father owns.

Makis Psomiadis was allegedly one of the main players in the betting ring, which earned millions of euros, along with the former Olympiakos Volou chairman Achilleas Beos. Although Beos was arrested as soon as prosecutor Popi Papandreou completed her investigation, Psomiadis evaded authorities.

It was thought he may have left Greece, prompting the issuing of an international arrest warrant, but the 55-year-old was found in a house in Anavysos, southeast of Athens. The property was rented a few ago by a woman who had allegedly been helping Psomiadis avoid arrest, sources told Kathimerini. The woman was identified as a bar worker.

Sources also said that authorities located Psomiadis by eavesdropping on his mobile phone calls. Officers found several devices when they raided the house, which they had been monitoring for a couple of days before deciding to conduct their raid. Psomiadis did not resist arrest but told journalists that he was a ?political prisoner? when he was taken to a prosecutor yesterday afternoon.

During his time on the run, Psomiadis, known for his lankiness, bushy moustache and eyebrows and cigar smoking, had also grown a beard.

The 55-year-old, who also used to own Athens club AEK, is often seen as a colorful character but his consistent knack of evading justice has prompted many to raise questions of how Psomiadis has achieved such impunity. He has been convicted of a number of crimes, including smuggling and embezzlement but has avoided serving time in jail by claiming ill health. One doctor who in the past diagnosed him as being sick later committed suicide.