NEWS

In Brief

ABDUCTION RING

Two men arrested for allegedly torturing businessman in Thessaloniki Two men have been arrested in the Sindos area of Thessaloniki on suspicion of abducting and torturing a 44-year-old local businessman who allegedly owed them 2 million euros, police revealed yesterday. The two brothers, who have not been named, were apprehended when they went to the man’s house on Sunday to collect the ransom. Officers had been notified by the businessman’s family. Police are searching for another three suspects. They said that the five alleged kidnappers abducted their victim on April 24. The 44-year-old man is being treated at a hospital in Veria, northern Greece. Details of his injuries were not made public. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Liverpool club’s CEO calls for ‘careful planning’ for Athens final The chief executive of Liverpool soccer club Rick Parry called yesterday for «careful thought and planning» to go into security for the Champions League final in Athens on May 23. Parry admitted there could be extra security concerns if Manchester United were to knock out AC Milan and set up an all-English Champions League final.«There will be issues we’ll have to address. There will be a lot of supporters from both teams traveling without tickets, which the authorities will have to deal with,» he said. Each finalist will be given 17,000 tickets but there are fears that thousands more fans without tickets could travel to Athens. KIDNAPPER SENTENCED Man sought ransom from niece A 54-year-old man was handed a five-year jail sentence in Thessaloniki yesterday for attempting to kidnap his niece’s 18-month-old baby for a 1.5 million euro ransom. Authorities said the man entered his niece’s house in April last year pretending to deliver confectionery. The man entered the house without removing his motorcycle helmet and attempted to tie and gag the woman, who resisted, forcing him to flee. During the struggle, police said, the man dropped some personal belongings on which he had left his fingerprints, a mistake that ultimately led to his arrest. Body in forest A Thessaloniki coroner yesterday attributed to hypothermia the death of a 51-year-old doctor, whose body was discovered on Tuesday in forestland near a village in the prefecture of Imathia. The unnamed doctor, who was found half-naked, definitely died of natural causes and probably hypothermia, the coroner said. According to his wife, the doctor had left his Thessaloniki home to go to their country house two weeks ago. His wife told police that her husband had problems with orientation. Rescue workers found his car first, and then his body a short distance away. Railway extension A project to extend the Kifissia-Piraeus electric railway to the northern Athens suburb of Aghios Stefanos is almost ready to begin, sources said yesterday. The 690 million euro project will provide an 11-kilometer underground link from Kifissia to Aghios Stefanos. Stations will be built at Tatoi, Nea Erythraia, Kastri and on the national road. When fully operational, some 80,000 commuters are expected to use the extension daily. The first phase of construction is scheduled to be finished by 2015. Trial postponed The trial of Nikos Palaiocostas, one of Greece’s most notorious robbers, was postponed yesterday after the suspect refused to appear in court. Palaiocostas, who is currently serving a 16-year sentence for a series of bank robberies between 1989 and 2004, refused to attend the court hearing in Larissa, central Greece. The public prosecutor instructed authorities to ensure the prisoner’s attendance at the next hearing scheduled for November 18. Teacher convicted A Thessaloniki court yesterday passed down a jail sentence of eight years and five months to a physical education teacher found guilty of sexually assaulting young girls and using drugs. The unnamed teacher, a divorced father of one, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl and sexually harassing two sisters. The man approached the girls in Katerini, near Thessaloniki, offered them small sums of money to win their trust and then took them swimming at nearby beaches, the court heard.