NEWS

Makis Psomiadis caught in FYROM

Makis Psomiadis, the businessman and soccer club boss who spent the last month on the run from authorities over his alleged role in a match-fixing ring, was arrested in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Wednesday.

Psomiadis was arrested at noon while drinking coffee at a cafe some 100 meters from the Greek Consulate. Sources said that he had been hiding out at the home of a 32-year-old soccer player who used to play for Kavala, the club owned by Psomiadis.

The 55-year-old businessman is also said to have received the help of a 47-year-old Greek man who lives in FYROM but has been linked to numerous crimes in Greece. Psomiadis was traced to Skopje after the Greek National Intelligence Service (EYP) picked up the signal of a mobile phone he was using.

Intelligence agents passed on the information to Interpol officers in Skopje, who arrested Psomiadis. The 55-year-old had shaved his beard and died his hair, sources said. He will remain in custody in FYROM pending extradition to Greece.

A European arrest warrant was issued for Psomiadis at the end of September, a few days after a magistrate decided to release the soccer club owner alleged to be at the center of a large match-fixing ring, on bail of 600,000 euros.

Despite the recommendation of public prosecutor Athina Theodoropoulou, magistrate Giorgos Kassimis released Psomiadis but a council of appeals court judges then ruled that the 55-year-old should be remanded in custody until his trial takes place.

The magistrate had deemed Psomiadis not to be a flight risk despite the fact that authorities had been unable to trace him for more than two months after an international warrant was issued for his arrest in June.

Psomiadis was found in September hiding in a villa southeast of Athens. The anti-terrorist squad and Greece?s intelligence services helped police track the fugitive.

The owner of Kavala soccer club denies any connection to the match-fixing ring, which is alleged to have made millions of euros by betting on the outcome of soccer games which various officials and players colluded to fix.