Police point to jailhouse blackmail plot as motive behind defense attorney’s murder

2 November 2017
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Greek authorities on Wednesday appeared confident that they have solved the murder of a well-known Athens defense attorney last month, announcing that five Albanian nationals are considered as the perpetrators – two serving as the contracted hitmen and another three convicts behind bars.

Michalis Zafiropoulos was gunned down in his central Athens office on Oct. 12, gangland-style, during a meeting with two men.

One of the two alleged gunmen, a 32-year-old Albanian national, was arrested over the weekend in a gypsy camp outside the western port city of Patras. Another suspect reportedly fled to Albania, although his identity is known. The trio of convicts – 35, 34 and 40 – are accused of masterminding the attack, although the arrested suspect has reportedly claimed that the attorney was shot “by mistake”.

The motive, according to police, is a complicated plot to blackmail another inmate at the Korydallos penitentiary by the incarcerated trio. The botched plan aimed to pressure Zafiropoulos into revealing details of relatives of the other prisoner held at the same prison on remand.

That prisoner was later identified as a defendant in the Energa case, which involves felony fraud charges stemming from the collapse of the same-name private retail electricity provider five years ago.

Police said the trio demanded five million euros from the man, offering in return to withdraw their testimonies implicating him in the attempted murder for another attorney – representing other plaintiffs in the Energa case – in 2014.

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