Jail a ‘hotbed of criminal activity’

Korydallos Prison, ostensibly Attica’s main high-security penitentiary, is actually a hotbed of criminal activity with a turnover of some 50 million euros per year, sources have told Kathimerini, noting that escapes from the jail by two notorious convicts in 2006 and last week as well as two abductions of prominent businessmen had been planned inside its walls. The failure of jail authorities to segregate serial robber Vassilis Palaiocostas and convicted murderer Alket Rizai facilitated their escape last month. But similar security lapses at Korydallos, and in other jails, are believed to have facilitated the planning of other crimes, the sources said. For example the members of the group that devised and executed the abduction of senior Thessaloniki industrialist Giorgos Mylonas last June are believed to have done their planning by telephone between the jails of Korydallos, Trikala and Diavata. The first escape from Korydallos jail by Palaiocostas and Rizai, in June 2006, was planned on the prison grounds, the same sources said. An April 2008 indictment lodged against 13 people implicated in the 2006 escape notes, «The first development in the chain of events that led to the escape was the acquaintance of Vassilis Stefanakos (charged with complicity) with Spyros Dravilas (charged as one of the two helicopter hijackers) which occurred inside Korydallos jail while the two men were inmates.» The kidnapping of shipping tycoon Pericles Panagopoulos in January is believed to have been planned in jail too. Criminal plans hatched inside Korydallos are believed to be generating millions of euros per year for the perpetrators. Together with drug dealing inside the jail, these activities are believed to be worth some 50 million euros. Turnover from the heroin trade alone is believed to be around 500,000 euros per year.

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