Change in intelligence ranks

For the first time, Greece yesterday appointed an acting prosecutor as the head of its intelligence service, as evidence mounted of links between a large criminal gang smashed last week and the country’s resurgent terrorist groups. Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulous, who has recently been at the helm of investigations into terrorist attacks, was appointed head of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), replacing former diplomat Yiannis Korantis, who had been in charge since 2003. No official reason was given for Korantis’s unexpected replacement but there was speculation that Papangelopoulos would be more suited to tackling terrorism, especially in light of indications that there are links between some of the terror groups and criminal organizations. These suspicions were strengthened by evidence gathered with the help of EYP to smash a large criminal gang that is alleged to have carried out the kidnapping of ferry tycoon Pericles Panagopoulos and several contract killings. Sources told Kathimerini that the anti-terrorist squad is following leads gleaned from phone conversations between the group’s mastermind Panayiotis Vlastos and other gang members. Officers are particularly interested in Vlastos’s reaction when he found out that an accomplice of his was arrested while carrying a large bomb in his car at the end of April. Vlastos allegedly exchanged numerous phone calls with other gang members to express concern that the would-be recipients of the bomb would be angry about the failure to deliver and might exact violent revenge. He also revealed that the device was constructed in the same way as a bomb that failed to go off outside Alter TV’s headquarters in February. The Sect of Revolutionaries claimed that attack, in which at least 10 shots were also fired.