Greek Police Arrest Albanian in Criminal Lawyer’s Murder

FILE - Mihalis Zafiropoulos' office, a prominent lawyer who was shot and killed. (Photo: Eurokinissi/Giannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Greek police said they arrested and charged a 32-year-old Albanian man for the murder of noted defense attorney Michalis Zafeiropoulos in his office in a central part of the city.

The suspect, whose name wasn’t initially given, had hidden in a Gypsy (Roma)  settlement in the prefecture of Achaia in the Peloponnese, police sources told Kathimerini, while another man who entered Zafeiropoulos’ office with the 32-year-old before the lawyer was shot remained at large.

Another three suspects, also Albanian nationals, were questioned earlier this week in connection with the killing. All three have been linked to the attempted contract killing in 2014 of another lawyer, Giorgos Antonopoulos.

Earlier it was reported that three inmates at Greece’s high-security Kordyallos Prison authorities reportedly believe were involved in the attempted contract killing of a lawyer were being questioned about the killing.

The inmates were transferred from the prison to the headquarters of the capital’s police, GADA, as part of the investigation into the murder of Zafeiropoulos in his Athens office.

The report said sources that weren’t identified are pointing to identifying the “moral accomplices” as there is already said to be irrefutable evidence incriminating the actual killers who haven’t been named, common in Greece which has generally strict privacy laws unless suspects or those tied to alleged crimes are well-known public figures.

Sifting for clues, Greek police had checked the phone records of Zafeiropoulos who officials said was probably threatened in connection with a case, with hope his phone records might lead to some evidence of who the men were and their role in his practice.

During the suspects’ conversation with Zafeiropoulos, they referred to a case he had undertaken, the Energa-Hellas Power embezzlement affair, that has been linked to an attempted contract killing of another lawyer, Giorgos Antonopoulos, sources told the paper.

Zafeiropoulos, 52, was the son of former New Democracy MP Nontas Zafeiropoulos, and specialized in cases of financial crime.

According to an associate of Zafeiropoulos who worked in the office next door, the victim opened the main entrance of the building to two individuals who walked up the stairs to the second floor.

He then suddenly heard a gunshot and when he ran to see what had happened, he found the victim bend over his office and the killers gone.