NEWS

Turks hold Greek sought by Italians

Turkish authorities yesterday formally arrested a Greek businessman who they said is wanted by Italy for arms trafficking. Lawyers for the man and the Greek consulate argued that this was a case of mistaken identity. Turkish security forces detained Constantine Dafermos, 59, on Sunday at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, where he was about to board a plane to Greece. Earlier in the day, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios honored Dafermos with the title of Archon of the Patriarchate for having funded the restoration of the Church of the Holy Trinity on the island of Halki, off Istanbul. Italy had issued an international warrant for a Constantine Dafermos over the seizure in the Adriatic in March 1994 of a ship bound for Venice that was carrying 30,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 400 missiles, some 10,000 anti-tank missiles and other materiel, an Istanbul police statement said. Italian authorities have said subsequent investigations revealed that a company run by the wanted Greek was involved in international arms trafficking, the statement added. The company had branches in Vienna and Panama. But there was still a slight overall reduction in the percentage of drunk drivers per people tested – 7.4 percent over 7.9 percent in 2000.