Greek authorities say that most of the suspects in the case of the kidnapping of Greek businessman Michalis Lempidakis have been arrested.
Lempidakis was held hostage for six months by a gang that demanded ransom for his release. He was released after a police operation on Monday.
Greek authorities say no ransom was paid.
At a press conference in Heraklion, General Police Director of Crete, Konstantinos Lagoudakis, said that the preliminary investigation shows that there was no single mastermind in the kidnapping.
He ruled out any involvement by political figures and said that most of the suspects have been arrested. He revealed that a special unit of the Greek police is examining the possible participation of some other individuals.
“Our highest priority has been the safety of the victim,” the senior police officer said, stressing that the operation to release the hostage took place only when police were certain that there was only one person guarding the hideout.
Police sources say this criminal gang was formed sometime in March 2017, only a few weeks before the kidnapping.
Most of those arrested are from Crete and are known to police for their past criminal records, that include attempted homicide, trafficking, rape and arson.
Officers noted the participation of a 16-year-old girl in the gang saying that she was involved in the latter phase of the kidnapping, buying mobile phones and posting materiel to Lempidakis’ family. Police believe that she was recruited by her father and knew little about the gang’s activities.
Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Toskas, paid tribute to the police forces for an “immaculate operation” to free the hostage.
“Greek citizens need to feel safe wherever they are. We are all proud. Greek people are proud of the achievement of the police”, he said.