Gang leader’s lawyer charged

The lawyer of the alleged mastermind of the so-called «Gang of 16» which is accused of carrying out kidnappings and contract killings was yesterday indicted to appear before a judge investigating the case on suspicion of aiding and abetting the group of criminals. Lawyer Elisavet Pouliou, who represented convict Panayiotis Vlastos, was given until Wednesday to prepare her testimony. She will face charges of being a member of a criminal gang. The charges have been issued based on the transcriptions of secretly recorded telephone conversations between Vlastos and Pouliou in which the lawyer appears to have been complicit in the gang’s activities. In fact Pouliou is alleged to have actively helped Vlastos, in one case by providing information to the convict that would help him plan a bomb attack against a prison warden, and in another instance allegedly helping the gang get hold of electronic detonators. The lawyer denies the charges but will also have to face an Athens Bar Association disciplinary committee. Two suspected members of the gang, Constantinos Andreou and Serb national Boban Ristevski were also given until Tuesday to prepare their depositions. The two men were arrested on April 27 on the Athens-Corinth national road when police stopped their car and discovered a large explosive device. According to the case against the pair, they had been ordered to place the device somewhere in Arta to use against a target that has not been specified by authorities. Three of the main suspects in the case, Vlastos and fellow convicts Yiannis Skaftouros and Vassilis Stefanakos, are also expected to be given more time before they appear before a judge. Vlastos is being held in Trikala jail, Skaftouros in Diavata prison and Stefanakos in Larissa jail. It is expected that judicial officials will go to the prisons to obtain the suspects’ testimony.

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