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One million euros award for finding Paleokostas

09 February 2011 / 14:02:40  GRReporter
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The Greek police announced an award of one million euros to anyone who can submit information to trace Vassilis Paleokostas. The most wanted criminal in the country has troubled the the authorities for decades. While at the beginning of his "career" he acted with his brother Nikos as "Robin Hood" for the poor and downtrodden his image has been seriously hurt recently.

The criminal Vassilios Paleokostas sent to the Ministry of Citizens Protection the bomb that exploded on June 24, 2010 in the hands of the police officer George Vasilakis, aide to the then Prime Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, according to an official announcement of the Greek police.
It also claims that the 45-year-old fugitive was the man who shot at police officers from the Livadia police station and wounded one of them last Sunday.  

The Greek police unraveled both cases after finding Paleokostas’ finger prints on parts of the envelope in which the bomb was sent as well as on the car the the criminal and his accomplice abandoned in Viotia region after the shooting with the police three days ago. According to sources cited by Vima newspaper, the police had identified the man who was in the car with Paleokostas during the chase to capture them. The investigation has already been undertaken by the anti-terror services.

Following these revelations the investigation office in Athens issued an arrest warrant for Vassilis Paleokostas. Authorities accused him of involvement in a terrorist group, commitment of terrorist acts, murder, construction and possession of explosive mechanism of terrorist organization and deadly explosion.

The anti-terroris officers have had numerous reports in recent years that Vassilis Paleokostas had frequent contacts with 2-3 people who were among the main focal points of urban guerillas in Greece. It is believed that the 45 years old criminal offender had the support of anarchists from Thessaloniki in the abduction of the businessman George Milonas. Later he got in touch with persons suspected to be involved in armed groups to deliver him weapons on Crete. According to information from the anti-terrorist service to which Vima newspaper refers, Vassilis Paleokostas funded the so-called "revolutionary fund" of the armed groups with some of the ransom taken for the release of the Thessaloniki businessman Milonas.

Vassilis Paleokostas was arrested for the abduction in the summer of 2008 but escaped from prison by helicopter for the second time in February 2009. He has been wanted by the police ever since.

On April 15, 2009 Paleokostas fell into a police blockade in Alepohori village near Athens. After the shooting he managed to escape and cover his traces. The police have been gathering various data about his whereabouts for quite some time. According to some of it, Paleokostas escaped to Albania and was in Brazil for a certain period of time. Some vague information involved him in bank robberies that were committed in areas of central Greece, Epirus and the Peloponnese in recent months but these data were not confirmed. According to the latest police information, Paleokostas was hiding somewhere in Thessaloniki.

As for the clash with the police in Livadia on Sunday morning it was originally assumed that this was a "gang of foreigners" involved in a number of burglaries. Now the police are considering the possible involvement of Vassilis Paleokostas in robberies. A possible link between the shooting with the police officers and those bandit attacks is also being investigated.

Tags: Crime newsTerrorismBombMinistry for Citizesn ProtectionVassilis Paleokostas
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