The Hellenic Police (ELAS) on Monday published the details and photographs of a 47-year-old man who stands accused of posing as a health specialist and possibly contributing to the death of three cancer patients, including two teenagers.
The suspect’s details were published in order to aid ELAS in its investigations, which so far indicated that the man had extracted thousands of euros from at least 45 patients by promising them a miracle cure based on shady substances he procured over the internet, some of which contained cannabis extracts.
ELAS identified the suspect as Nikos Kontothanasis, who was born in the Athens suburb of Liosia on February 8, 1973.
Officers were put on his trail by a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the parents of the two teenagers, aged 14 and 16, who died of cancer after following his treatment regimen. A complaint had also been made with the police against the bogus doctor by the daughter of his third known victim, a 76-year-old man who was also suffering from cancer.
After more than two months of trying to track down the suspect, who had introduced himself to his patients under the name Nikos Kontos, investigators got a break in their case thanks to a cashed check from the father of one of the two boys who died in his care.
According to ELAS, the boy’s family had paid around 15,000 euros for an “alternative treatment” to their son’s cancer. Another patient who had signed up for the bogus doctor’s treatment is said to have shelled out around 30,000 euros.
Kontothansis is also being investigated in connection with a 2005 business scam worth around 50 million euros in which he allegedly posed as a representative of a hush-hush US government agency looking for brokers to sell telecoms equipment to countries like China and North Macedonia.
He was remanded into police custody on Monday, while ELAS is appealing for witnesses who may have fallen victim to one of his schemes or have knowledge of any crimes he may have committed to come forward.