Greek police has arrested one of two Albanian nationals suspected to be the killers of 52-year-old lawyer Michalis Zafeiropoulos. He was arrested in the city of Patras, western Greece, on Saturday, while he was preparing to leave the country. His accomplice is believed to have left Greece for Albania via Italy. The two had received a “down-payment” to execute what is seems a “death contract” or just an intimidation attempt.
The arrested man, a 32-year-old Albanian, was found in a Roma settlement as he was preparing to leave for Albania. He was found to have escaped from jail.
The second man, a 30-year-old, police considers to be the man who had also visited the lawyer at his office, is believed to have escaped to Albania.
Video: the capture of the Albanian killer in Patras
In a press release Greek police said also that three Albanian inmates, aged 34, 35 and 40, serving long jail sentences are considered to be those who gave the order to the two killers to intimidate or even kill Zafeiropoulos.
The inmates have been transferred from Korydallos prison to Greek police headquarters to testify. They are under suspicion as intermediaries who contracted the two Albanians on behalf of an Albanian crime ring.
The prisoners have ordered the two Albanian men to intimidate and coerce the lawyer into handing over files pertaining to a criminal case against three people in custody at the capital’s Korydallos Prison, one of which was being represented by Zafeiropoulos.
The arrested Albanian had confessed to police that he and the fugitive had received 3,000 euros down-payment to execute the order, police said.
The total amount the two would received for the “Zafeiropoulos contract” was allegedly 20,000 euros.
Athe 32-year-old was in prison for several crimes including robbery, theft, rape. He never return to prison in North Greece after a short leave.
The fugitive had charges on robberies and illegal weapon possession.
In an apartment where they two lived in Kallithea, south suburb of Athens, police found and seized several a gun and a riffle, bullets, one hand grenade, explosives but also two police uniforms.
The three inmates serve prison sentences for forming a criminal organization, attempted murder and other crimes.
Two of the inmates spoke to a Greek news magazine and denied any charges. “We know who gave the order, it is definitely not us,” they told Live News.
The name of the arrested Albanian has not made public.
According to Greek media, it was the phone bugging system of the Greek National Intelligence (EYP) that made the clearing of the crime possible. Lifting the telephone privacy of the arrested Albanian, a conversation between him and one of those who gave the order was “You will go there, shoot him at the feet and tell him what we want.”
After the murder, the EYP bug captured a phone conversation between one of the inmates and another man man where the first was saying “What idiots, we told them to intimidate him and they killed him”.
Several media report that the two “killers” intended to put pressure on Zafiropoulos to intervene in their dealings with one of his clients, with whom they had ‘unfinished business’. The abettors reportedly demanded outstanding money by one of Zafeiropoulos’s clients who had assigned them with a “death contract” in 2014 as they have claimed. They reportedly wanted to learn the client’s home address.