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Greek Police Link Journalist's Murder to Organized Crime Hit

Ευρωκίνηση

Journalist Giorgos Karaivaz ambushed and murdered. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – With clues few and far between, Greek police are said to believe that the shooting assassination of investigative journalist Giorgos Karaivaz was ordered by the underworld as he was investigating a series of hits between rival syndicates.

He was shot eight times outside his home on April 9 by a shooter on the back of a two-person motor scooter who then got off and delivered two more shots directly to the head as the reporter lay bleeding on a sidewalk.

The newspaper Kathimerini said th veteran crime reporter had personal and professional ties to organized crime rackets that have engaged in back-and-forth killings that have gone mostly unsolved, and that corrupt police were involved.

That could make solving the murder more difficult, similar to the murder of investigative journalist Sokratis Giolias in 2010 that has never been solved, the Greek underworld difficult to pin down.

Karaivas covered covered for a number of newspapers and wrote about it on his blog Bloko, where he said he received death threats but police said he didn't ask for protection without explaining why.

The 52-year-old journalist was also a key witness in a 2015-2017 National Intelligence Service probe into dirty police and sex/gambling rackets, two suspects killed and a police officer shot dead as well. 

Karaivaz was also a witness in an ongoing case involving a large protection racket, organized crime operating almost with impunity across the country and reports that some dirty cops are tied to it, the paper said.

EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders termed the murder of Giorgos Karaivaz on April 9 a "despicable and cowardly act", during a press conference following the completion of the Council of Ministers of European Affairs.

"We must protect the European way of life and European values," he added.