NEWS

Four arrested over Athenaeum Palace hotel arson

four-arrested-over-athenaeum-palace-hotel-arson

Four suspects were arrested on Thursday in connection with a blaze that investigators believe was started on purpose at the Athenaeum Palace & Luxury suites in Athens last December, injuring two people.

The suspects are the Greek managers of the hotel, a 54-year-old man and his 52-year-old wife, and two hotel employees, identified as Pakistani nationals.

The managers are facing accusations of morally instigating the arson, while the two employees of actually setting it.

Authorities said the suspected arson on December 5 was linked to a legal wrangle between the owner of the building, who lives permanently in Germany, and the hotel’s two managers.

According to the investigation, the latter owed 890,000 euros as lease and the owner had issued an eviction order which the bailiffs were about to deliver to the hotel when the fire started.

Security Police revealed that the hotel's managers had ordered the person in charge of security to turn off security cameras.

At the same time, the two Pakistanis were identified in video footage from nearby hotel cameras carrying – on the eve of arson – jerrycans hidden under sheets.

Shortly before the fire broke out, cleaners were asked to open, to specific rooms on the 1st and 2nd floors of the building, which had no guests.

The suspects poured flammable liquid over the beds and set them on fire. Two women from Ukraine and Russia were seriously injured.

All four will be led before a prosecutor on Friday morning.