NEWS

Affair claim in IKA chief murder case

The man charged with murdering Yiannis Vartholomaios said he had suspected that the late IKA chairman was having an affair with his wife but insists that he did not intend to kill the civil servant. Authorities yesterday named the suspect as Dimitris Vrakatselis, a Finance Ministry official. Sources said he told police that he had employed a private detective since last May to tail his wife, Thomais, who worked at the IKA social security fund. Vrakatselis said that the detective called him on Friday afternoon to tell him that Vartholomaios was visiting his wife. The suspect claims he went to the apartment in Zografou, eastern Athens, to confront the IKA chief but when the two met in the stairwell, Vartholomaios became aggressive and started pushing him. Vrakatselis told officers that he became enraged and punched the civil servant three or four times, knocking him down. Legal sources said that although Vrakatselis has been charged with murder with possible malice aforethought, it does not appear so far that he had any intention to kill Vartholomaios. The unnamed private detective had allegedly been tailing Vrakatselis’s wife even though the law was changed two years ago to ban people from stalking or monitoring the movements of others. However, private eyes admitted to Kathimerini yesterday that their field remains unregulated and that roughly one in three detective offices operates without a license. «The law limits our field of action substantially because we need to prove that a criminal act could take place to get permission from the police to tail someone,» said private eye Nikos Talianis, who admitted that most detectives do not comply with these rules. «Few managed or bothered to get operating licenses.» The police do not give permission for private detectives to tail people if there is a suspicion of adultery because under Greek law it is not a crime. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was among the mourners at the late IKA chief’s funeral service in Athens yesterday.