Greek police say they believe escaped terrorist Nikos Maziotis to be the mastermind behind six armed robberies and bank heists that have brought his Revolutionary Struggle gang 15 million euros ($20.8 million) to finance their violent activities.
He and his partner Pola Roupa have been on the run since June 2012 after being released from the maximum 18-months detention because authorities failed to put them on trial.
Police said believe that a total of seven people are part of the team that Maziotis has put together to rob banks to finance his activities, including the detonation of a car bomb outside a Bank of Athens main branch last month.
He said it was designed as an anti-capitalist protest the same day Greece was floating a bond for the first time in four years, during a crushing economic crisis that has brought harsh austerity measures.
Maziotis said he also wanted to show defiance a day before German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is the biggest contributor to international loans propping up the Greek economy but who has demanded big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings, came to Athens to meet Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, a fellow conservative.
Officers said the fugitive and his accomplices wore bullet-proof vests and were heavily armed in all the robberies they are thought to have carried out. It is believed that Maziotis shot and injured a policeman outside a bank in Achaia in the Peloponnese in March.