Greek law enforcement officials fear that two terrorists on the loose have plenty of cash to buy guns and explosives and begin a new reign of violence after estimating that guerrilla groups over the years have stolen about 10 million euros ($13.67) million in armed robberies and bank heists.
In the aftermath of a convicted member of the November 17 group, Christodoulos Xeros, walking away earlier this month from a holiday vacation he was given despite serving six life sentences for six murders, there is fear he will make good on his word to return to terrorism and with a lot of cash to buy guns and explosives.
Another charged terrorist, Nikos Maziotis, the convicted leader of Revolutionary Struggle, who vanished after being let go from detention after being held the maximum 18 months without being brought to trial, is believed to have participated in at least five armed bank raids that netted more than 1.5 million euros for his organization, police sources told Kathimerini.
Revolutionary Struggle was thought to have been dismantled following several arrests and convictions of suspected members including Maziotis and his girlfriend Panagiota Roupa but police said they believe he may have been behind a gunfire assault on the German Ambassador’s home last month and other incident the last two years.
There are at least 87 believed terrorist groups in the country, chief among them the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, which also hit banks and some of whose jailed members met regularly in prison with Xiros, leading to the firing of the warden of the purported high-security Korydallos Prison that has seen several breaches.
Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani is to decide this week on the fate of two prosecutors who sat on the judicial council that approved seven furloughs for Xeros. Under Greek law, all criminals are entitled to seek a furlough after eight years in jail but they don’t have to be granted.
After Xeros’ escape, a furlough was withdrawn for another convicted terrorist who had been let out regularly to go to college.
With fears there could be another high-level terrorist attack, authorities are expected to seek access to the bank accounts of people believed to have helped finance the activities of the country’s guerrilla groups.
Vassilis Paleocostas, the serial robber best known for two dramatic helicopter escapes from Korydallos Prison, is believed to have helped fund guerrilla organizations, authorities said.