NEWS

Suspected members of extortion racket are wanted abroad

International arrest warrants had been issued for two of three Iraqi Kurds detained by police in Athens on Tuesday as suspected members of an extortion racket, Kathimerini understands.

The alleged ringleader, a 37-year-old who has served time in Korydallos Prison, is alleged to have played a leading role in a forgery racket that sold forged papers to immigrants and is wanted for manslaughter in Turkey.

The second suspect, aged 28, is wanted in Iran for smuggling explosives and attempted manslaughter. The third man, aged 39, has faced charges of extortion and robberies in the past.

The suspects are alleged to have met one of their victims, the owner of a bureau de change, during a solidarity march for Kurds in Athens last October. They are said to have demanded 250,000 euros from him, threatening to harm his family.

The victim eventually agreed to pay them 80,000 euros but informed police. Two of the three suspects were caught receiving the first payment of 20,000 euros in pre-marked bills in the neighborhood of Kallithea. The third suspect was traced shortly after.