NEWS

N17 informant still a mystery

A woman named by police as the mysterious informant who nearly secured the arrest of several November 17 terrorists 11 years ago denied any connection with the shadowy affair while testifying in court yesterday. Maria Tsinteri, who according to former police chief Stephanos Makris received 13 million drachmas (38,000 euros) for the information that N17 operatives were to gather in Louizis Riancourt Street in Ambelokipi, central Athens, at the end of March 1992, denied having ever spoken to Makris. «I do not know you and I have never phoned you. Your report was fabricated,» she told Makris. Presiding judge Michalis Margaritis said he had ordered a comparison of Tsinteri’s voice with police tapes of the conversation between the Louizis Riancourt informant and counterterrorism officials. Despite the tip-off and the presence of a group of N17 terrorists on Louizis Riancourt, police failed to make any arrests. The whole enterprise was described on Monday by Margaritis and prosecutor Vassilis Markis as a «fiasco.» N17 defendant Savvas Xeros, a 41-year-old icon-painter accused of having been a senior hit man, said the whole affair was set up by corrupt police officials out for the sizable reward on offer for information leading to the arrest of N17 suspects. Yesterday, alleged N17 chief executioner Dimitris Koufodinas, 45, also commented on the bungled police operation. «We have just been exposed to the wonderful world of… secret agents, informants and senior police officers that surround this case of secret funds abuse,» he said. «We await with interest to see who shared the billions (of drachmas) of the rewards, and how.» The court will not sit today and tomorrow due to a lawyers’ strike.