40-year-old shipowner, who denies all charges, claims that a trusted person, who went in and out of his home, is responsible for the 1.3 tonnes of heroin found on his property
Some of heroin found in the operation A 40-year-old shipowner, his former wife and her friend, were remanded in custody on Tuesday, in relation to the seizure of the largest find of heroin ever made in Greece.
On Friday, over a tonne of heroin – 1,133.420kg – was found in two batches of about 500kg each, at a warehouse in Koropi, outside Athens, and in the house of the shipowner in the upmarket Athens neighbourhood of Filothei. The drugs, which had a pure value of €30m and a street value of an estimated €200m, were packaged in 443 plastic bales. The premises were raided in a joint Greek-US operation involving the Greek coastguard and police and the US Drugs Enforcement Agency.
The shipowner, who has been named in the local media as Makis Giannousakis, and the other two were detained following a joint decision by an investigator and a prosecutor. The shipowner’s former mother-in-law and maid were released unconditionally.
A total of 11 people were arrested, including six Greek nationals and five Turkish nationals. Among those arrested were the shipowner, his ex-wife and their 15 year-old-son, who was released on Monday.
The five Turkish citizens reportedly involved in the same case are expected to be brought before prosecuting authorities in Piraeus on Wednesday. An Albanian national, who presented himself voluntarily and is being detained, is also expected to make his plea on Friday.
The coastguard announced on Tuesday it was continuing its investigation into in order to trace more suspects.
According to reports, the 40-year-old shipowner said in his testimony, “If I wanted to store drugs, I would take them to Thivon Avenue, where I have vacant offices. I would not store them where my child is.”
They added that the 40-year-old, who denies charges attributed to him, appears to have told the investigator that his ex-wife owned 37 properties and could have hidden drugs anywhere had she wanted to.
The reports said that both the shipowner and his former wife allegedly claimed that a trusted person, who went in and out of their house, is responsible for everything.
According to reports, the 40-year-old suspect and others believed to be involved in the case feature on the so-called Lagarde list of Greeks with deposits at the Geneva branch of HSBC that is being investigated for tax evasion.
Meanwhile, authorities are focusing on specific targets in the greater Athens region; according to latest information, the heroin would have been smuggled out of Greece via Italy hidden in a truck in specially-built compartments. The vehicle was found on Monday in a truck yard in Schistos, greater Athens.