4 Greeks sought for mafia links

The Italian authorities are seeking the arrest and extradition of four Greeks believed to have been among the top cigarette-smuggling henchmen of an Italian mafia don. The only suspect currently in the hands of the Greek authorities, Panayiotis Orros, will be extradited on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by a Bari court. Italian officials also want Stelios Kolovos, a 62-year-old businessman under investigation for car and cigarette smuggling, Costas Soulis and Spyridon Galariotis. A total of 60 people have been accused of participation in the Italian Sacra Corona Unita organized crime ring, which focuses on cigarette, immigrant and prostitute smuggling and is believed to have links with Colombian, Russian and Asian criminal groups. Its leaders have been named as Albino and Angelo Prudentino – both of whom had links with Greece – while the Greeks on the wanted list allegedly maintained cigarette warehouses in Greece. Italian authorities believe that since 1999 the group has smuggled 1.2 million tons of processed tobacco into Italy.

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