NEWS

Arms dealer tied to terror group nabbed in Athens

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An arms dealer of joint American and Jordanian nationality believed to have been supplying weapons to the Lebanon-based Islamist militant group Hezbollah faced a prosecutor on Wednesday following his arrest in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, on Tuesday.

The suspect, who flew to Greece from Egypt on Monday, had been under surveillance by Greek police, who are said to have received a tip from US intelligence authorities. A statement by the Greek Police said the suspect faced extradition on a US arrest warrant on charges of arms dealing and money laundering.

The suspect’s arrest followed months of investigation by US undercover agents, Kathimerini understands. According to a well-informed source, the 49-year-old was interested in buying 200 M4 assault rifles to export to Iraq.

However, the potential buyer he met was an undercover agent. They met twice – once in September 2014 and again in the spring of this year.

The suspect is said to have claimed that the money for the purchase was coming from Beirut and the weapons were destined for Iraq. He returned to Athens on Monday, expecting to take delivery of the weapons.

A Greek Police source said he is believed to be a powerful arms dealer supplying Hezbollah and trafficking weapons to Iran, Iraq, Ukraine and Libya.

The suspect is alleged to own a firm based in Amman, Jordan, trading in a range of goods from security systems to face creams and health food.