ATHENS – No clues had so far yet emerged as to why prominent criminal defense attorney Michalis Zafeiropoulos was gunned down in his office but police were said to be trying to determine whether it was premeditated or related to cases on which he was working.
Investigators have determined that two men entered the building in downtown Athens adjacent to an area known as an anarchist hotbed and had an appointment with him, Kathimerini said, and that his associate said two men aged between 30-40 met with him and spoke good Greek but with an accent that sounded like Albanian.
He added that he and the victim spoke with the men in the lobby before the two suspects were taken to Zafeiropoulos’ office while the associate went to another and heard two shots, discovering the attorney was shot once in the chest and the head, killing him.
No possible reason or motive was given and as there were no surveillance cameras in the office police are looking at others in the area as well as checking his caseload, which includes the defense of a suspect in the Energa-Hellas Power embezzlement affair (which has been linked to an attempted contract killing), the defense of the publisher of Parapolitika in a case against Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, the defense of arms dealer Thomas Liakounakos as well as theft and drug cases.
Investigators are also considering possible links with suspected members of a cannabis racket that Zafeiropoulos had been set to defend on Oct. 16, the paper said. The racket’s activities were uncovered in September last year and linked to a large ring of Albanian cannabis smugglers which was broken two months later.
Legal professionals on Friday expressed their respect for Zafeiropoulos, a well-known criminal lawyer and the son of former New Democracy MP Epaminondas Zafeiropoulos.
The president of the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, Nikos Sakellariou, called for a minute’s silence at the beginning of the court’s plenary session in the morning, expressing “deep sorrow” at the lawyer’s death.
The Athens Bar Association also held a minute’s silence, while several cases that had been planned for Oct. 13 were postponed after the association called a week-long strike, starting on the night of Oct. 12.
The leader of main opposition New Democracy Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his concern at “a prevailing climate of total lawlessness, even in central Athens,” stepping up criticism at a rash of violent crimes that have drawn little attention from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras nor his Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition which includes Leftist elements sympathetic to anarchists, terrorists and criminals and a disbelief in jailing people.
In a dig at the government, Mitsotakis referred to the “unjustifiable tolerance that some display toward violence and lawlessness.”
“Citizens feel less and less safe,” he said, adding that such a situation “should not be tolerated in a state that abides by the rule of law.”