NEWS

Suspect claims tycoon kidnap

One of the 16 people arrested earlier this year on suspicion of being part of a network that carried out a wide range of criminal acts, including murders and kidnappings, yesterday admitted to masterminding the abduction of shipping tycoon Pericles Panagopoulos in January. Apostolos Petrakis changed his plea during further questioning by a magistrate and said that he organized Panagopoulos’s kidnapping, for which a reported ransom of 30 million euros was paid. Petrakis, also known as «Tony» or «The Cretan,» said he was the man that Panagopoulos’s wife described as having a «heavy accent» when they spoke on the phone to arrange the ransom payment. Up until now it had been thought that another suspect in custody, Panayiotis Vlastos, had coordinated the kidnapping from his jail cell. Petrakis said Vlastos was not involved but would not reveal his accomplice, nor where the ransom money has been hidden.