News & Current Affairs

August 21, 2008

Greek helicopter fugitive caught

Greek helicopter fugitive caught

The helicopter that was used in the jailbreak

The helicopter pilot said he was forced on the mission at gunpoint

Police in Greece have re-arrested the country’s most wanted fugitive, two years after he escaped from a high-security prison by helicopter.

Vassilis Paleokostas, 44, was serving a 25-year prison term for robbery and kidnap when he was whisked from an Athens prison in 2006 by accomplices.

Police say they believe he is behind the kidnap of northern Greek industrialist George Mylonas in June.

Mr Mylonas’s wife said she was relieved Paleokostas had been caught.

“It’s a kind of vindication for us to know who this man was,” Nelly Mylonas told Greek television on news of Paleokostas’ arrest.

Mr Mylonas – who was kidnapped at gunpoint outside his home – was released in June, after his family paid a ransom.

Greek industrialist George Mylonas

Mr Mylonas was kidnapped by a team said to have been led by Paleokostas

His kidnap helped police find Paleokostas, as they were able to trace the marked ransom money paid back to him. Three other men suspected in involvement in his kidnapping were also arrested.

Paleokostas is the brother of Nikos Paleokostas who has been convicted of 16 bank robberies, among other crimes.

He was considered the country’s most wanted fugitive until his arrest two years ago.

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