NEWS

Sports star arrested for usury, extortion

A key member of Greece’s national basketball team was arrested yesterday on charges of complicity in usury and extortion following complaints by a northern Greek businessman. Panayiotis Liadelis, 30, who will play this season for the small Makedonikos club in Greece’s top basketball division, allegedly lent 14 million drachmas, through a friend of his, to Costas Constantinidis, a businessman from the northern Greek town of Kilkis. Constantinidis told police that the debt was to have been repaid on Monday. But, the businessman said, when he tried to return the money, Liadelis’s friend, Socratis Taoltsidis – who was also arrested yesterday – refused to accept it unless Constantinidis paid an additional sum in interest. Liadelis said he had only lent money to a friend, but denied demanding interest. The striking collapse of these scenarios will not deter the conspiracy theorists from disclosing dark secrets and obscure plots in the future. The public should remember their fall from grace and prevent them from ever again setting the tone for public debate about crucial issues.