NEWS

In Brief

VIOLENT RAID

Trio with Kalashnikovs use women as human shields Three hooded robbers armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles yesterday took two women hostage during a raid on a branch of National Bank in Amfikleia, near Lamia in central Greece, which netted them 250,000 euros. The robbers, who had been wearing bulletproof vests, grabbed the women – a bank clerk and a customer – and used them as human shields to flee from the bank. They released the customer outside the bank and forced the clerk into a stolen Skoda in which they made their getaway before letting her out of the car two kilometers away. Neither of the women was hurt. The three perpetrators were still at large late last night. OLYMPIAKOS HANDOVER Tycoon takes charge of club Shipping tycoon Vangelis Marinakis agreed yesterday to buy a majority stake in Olympiakos soccer club. At a meeting with club president Sokratis Kokkalis, he agreed to buy 67 percent of the club for 50 million euros. This leaves Kokkalis, who bought the club 17 years ago, with a 13 percent stake in Olympiakos. However, the millionaire businessman will remain as club chairman. «This agreement will lead to many good things for Olympiakos in the next few years,» said Marinakis. Strike action The Communist-affiliated labor union PAME yesterday called on its members to join a 24-hour strike next Wednesday, June 23, to protest the government’s planned changes to labor relations and pension reform. The country’s two main unions, the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the civil servants’ union ADEDY, have already called a general strike for June 29 to protest the same controversial reforms, which form part of the debt-ridden government’s austerity program. Rocket launcher A rocket-propelled grenade launcher found in the suspected Athens hideout of the Revolutionary Struggle terrorist group was the one used to fire a missile at the US Embassy in Athens in January 2007, police said yesterday. Six suspected members of the group were arrested in April when police raided an apartment in Kypseli, near central Athens, and discovered a large haul of weapons. The attack on the embassy, which caused no injuries and minor damage, was claimed by Revolutionary Struggle two weeks after the hit. Denial Former minister and PASOK MP Akis Tsochatzopoulos yesterday denied owning any offshore companies or a string of luxury properties in Athens, and claimed he was the victim of a witch hunt. Tsochatzopoulos, whose PASOK membership was suspended after it emerged he and his wife bought an expensive property from an offshore company just three days before a change in the tax laws, said that the claims being made against him were «slanderous» and aimed to «shatter my public image as an active democratic politician and replace it with one of a brazen profiteer who has supposedly just been uncovered.» Balcony plunge A 36-year-old woman was killed yesterday after falling from the balcony of a second-floor apartment in Thessaloniki, police said without giving any details about the circumstances of the incident. Four other people had been in the apartment at the time of the fall, according to police.