NEWS

Fugitive mobster held for hit

Less than a week after an Athens accountant was murdered in a shooting that bore all the hallmarks of a gangland hit, police believe they are holding the killer following Friday’s arrest of a fugitive henchman of a once all-powerful crime clan. Giorgos Hadzopoulos, 35, a convicted member of the Grigorakos gang of extortionists, had been on the run since August 25, when he failed to return to Thessaloniki’s Diavata Prison after a five-day furlough. Hadzopoulos, arrested in a Palaio Faliron house on Friday together with Panayiotis Matakos, 25, who is wanted for alleged participation in a 100,000-euro armed robbery at an Athens toy store in November 2002, is thought by police to have been involved in last Monday’s execution of Panayiotis Mariolis in the Ilioupolis electrical fittings plant where he worked. Mariolis, 34, had been filling in for his employer – the brother of fugitive extortionist Giorgos Tsakoyiannis, a sworn enemy of the Grigorakos clan. Mariolis bore a physical resemblance to his boss, and police believe that it cost him his life. A motorbike belonging to Matakos’s girlfriend found parked outside Hadzopoulos’s hideout was used by Mariolis’s killer to flee the scene of the crime, police said. Hadzopoulos had been serving a 16-year term for the attempted murder of two officers during a gunfight between gang members – including Theodoros Grigorakos, who died after eating a cyanide-laced prison dinner in January 2002 – and police in Alimos, southern Athens, in May 1999. Monday’s murder came a day after Kyriaki Grigorakos – one of Theodoros’s two sisters – was found dead in her car in Brahami, apparently of natural causes. Theodoros Grigorakos’s only brother and his father were killed during a gang turf war in 2002. The family claimed Tsakoyiannis was behind their deaths.