NEWS

Papa, Popa, Passaris — partners?

A possible link between an Albanian national known to have masterminded at least 11 bank robberies in Attica and Greece’s most wanted criminal, Costas Passaris, is being investigated by police following the arrest of Constantin Papa in the coastal suburb of Alimos on Wednesday, as the latter tried to get into a stolen car being tailed by police. Papa, 34, has stolen tens of millions of drachmas since last January, say police who believe his most profitable raid last August – netting him nearly 31 million drachmas – may have been executed with the help of Passaris and the latter’s Romanian accomplice Mario Popa. It was at Popa’s Bucharest home, where police found a dog sent to Passaris from Athens in October, that the latter was tracked down. He is now in a Romanian jail following his arrest in November on murder charges. Greece is seeking Passaris’s extradition for a series of murders – including those of two policemen. In December, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou announced plans to transfer traditional military pastimes such as cookhouse, latrine and general cleanliness duties to private companies.