Fake aristocrat conned monks

A 36-year-old man who pretended to be an English aristocrat to ingratiate himself with a group of monks before attempting to blackmail them with recordings of their conversations has been arrested, police said yesterday. The man was put up at a monastery in Karditsa, central Greece, after telling the monks he was interested in following a monastic path. The alleged blackmailer discussed a number of Church figures, including late Archbishop Christodoulos, current Archbishop Ieronymos and Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem. After leaving the monastery, the 36-year-old contacted the monks to tell them he had recorded their conversations and wanted 30,000 euros not to make them public. The same suspect had pretended to be a Venezuelan when he tried to blackmail an estate agent in the upmarket Athens district of Kolonaki in January, police said.