NEWS

Key to N17 safe-deposit box?

A mysterious object attached to a bunch of keys found on November 17 terrorism suspect Savvas Xeros when he was severely injured by a premature bomb explosion in Piraeus last June has turned out to be the key to a bank safe-deposit box, police sources have told Kathimerini. Officials have established that the key was probably issued by a German bank, which they are now trying to identify. Although investigators were at pains to play down their expectations, it is hoped that the safe-deposit box, if found, could fill in crucial blanks in what the authorities know about Greek terrorism. One possibility is that Xeros used it to hide the loot from a string of bank robberies carried out by November 17, none of which has been located so far, or even some of the group’s missing handguns. On the other hand, investigators note, the box could prove to have no connection whatsoever with the left-wing group. Meanwhile, yesterday a prosecution witness at the N17 trial, which opened at the Athens Korydallos prison complex on March 3, identified three of the 19 defendants – Savvas Xeros, Dimitris Koufodinas and Sotiris Kondylis – as having been present at the July 1994 Athens assassination of Turkish diplomat Omer Sipahioglu. In further testimony, former New Democracy MP Lefteris Papadimitriou, who survived a December 1992 attack, was unable to identify the two men who shot him. He said the gunmen had wanted him to die a slow death, «otherwise they would have shot me in the head.» And a second-hand furniture dealer who saw the Sipahioglu attack diverted the court, telling presiding judge Michalis Margaritis he was «a great guy» before trying to wheedle petrol expenses out of him, but did not identify any of the defendants.