Police in Halkida, on the island of Evia, yesterday detained a 54-year-old man believed to have shot dead two of his business associates and a lawyer in a taverna in the resort of Eretria following a dispute over a 3,000-euro check. According to police, the three men had traveled to Evia from Athens, along with another associate, to discuss business with the suspect. Following an argument about a payment that had not gone through, the 54-year-old is alleged to have pulled out a gun and started firing at the visitors, killing two of the associates, aged 34 and 40, and their lawyer, 52, instantly. The third associate, who had stepped out of the taverna to take a call on his cell phone just before the shooting began, managed to escape and alert police. It remained unclear yesterday whether there had been anyone else in the taverna at the time of the incident. Officers said they contacted the suspect later, by telephone, and convinced him to turn himself in.