A 47-year-old man who has been accused of posing as a doctor and contributing to the death of at least three cancer patients, has admitted to claiming qualifications he did not possess but said he never encouraged patients to stop their conventional treatments.
The suspect, whose identity was revealed as that of Nikos Kontothanasis by investigators calling for witnesses to come forward, has been remanded in custody after testifying to an Athens prosecutor on Monday.
In his testimony, Kontothanasis apologized to the families of three patients who died under his care but denied that he had encouraged them to replace the treatment they were receiving with quack remedies he purchased off the internet, some of which were found to be made up of cannabis.
He admitted that he was not a certified neurosurgeon or other specialist, as he had claimed to his patients and their families, but said that he considers himself an expert in botany and therefore able to help patients battling difficult illnesses.
Kontothanasis faces three counts of murder over the deaths of the two teenage boys and a 76-year-old man, as well as multiple counts of fraud and charges for other crimes, as investigators have been able to track down at least 45 individuals who came under his care.
In the meantime, an additional 35 witnesses have reportedly come forward since the case broke in the media last week, including the family of a middle-aged man who died of cancer and the mother of a 17-year-old boy claiming that her son became wheelchair-bound as a result of the treatment prescribed by the suspect.