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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-07-26

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, July 26, 2002








  • [01] N17 HARD-DRIVES AND ACCOUNTING BOOKS ANALYZED An important role in the arrests of new N17 members is being played by the evidence found by the authorities on the computer files taken from the two hideouts, especially from the "electronic notes" exchanged by Savvas Xeros and Dimitris Koufontinas, in which they mentioned the movements of their accomplices and other information.

    According to a "To Vima" newspaper publication, a new round of arrests is expected, which will possibly be the last one as far as the organization is concerned, and which will be based on this evidence, which is being deciphered by the authorities, in an

    attempt to get closer to their targets.

    Dionysis Georgiadis referred to the existence of electronic data in his testimony, while it seems that Pavlos Serifis' implication was proven by the information concentrated from these files.

    The peculiar accounting book of N17 with nicknames and amounts of money was found in Pavlos Serifis' house, is the new find of the counter-terrorism service. This notebook possibly mentions the amounts that "November 17" immediate and external members re ceived. Specifically, according to the evidence, the primary members of the organization received a regular paycheck, like Pavlos Serifis, who seems to have been being paid 586 euro per month.

    The book in question, apart from the organization's financials, also reveals the number of individuals implicated. Specifically, it came to light that 4 more basic members of the organization are still at large. These are Dimitris Koufontinas, who has es caped arrest so far, Aris, whose identity is known and is expected to be arrested within the next few hours, and two more individuals, one of which is a woman whose identity is also known to the authorities.

    As far as individuals with a secondary role in the organization are concerned, the book reveals that they are more than 10, and their arrest is expected immediately after the eradication of the organization's core, possibly by the end of next week.

    The book was apparently kept by Dimitris Koufontinas, an event that makes his role in the organization even more important, since apart from being the planner and basic "hitman", the evidence so far reveals that he also did the book-keeping.

  • [02] AIMING AT N17'S COFOUNDER - OPERATION IN MYTILINI The counter-terrorism service is trying to concentrate the information necessary to arrest the cofounder of "November 17", however, it is appreciated that this will be one of the most difficult targets, while in order to achieve their goal, the authoriti es are using the information from the computer files found in the two hideouts on Patmos and Damareos streets.

    The cofounder, who seems to have the code name "Sardanapalus", is estimated to be 60 years old, known to the authorities and that by having close relations with Pavlos Serifis, was the link between the high ranking organization members. "Sardanapalus" is

    speculated to have participated in the murder of CIA Station Chief Richard Wells and that he was involved with the "ELA" and "May 1" organizations.

    According to today's press, the counter-terrorism service has begun an operation in Mytilini for the arrest of Dimitris Koufontinas or a couple connected to N17.

    Meanwhile, the police found photographs, various documents and a computer in Patroklos Tselentis' apartment in Elliniko.

    The police searched his car, while a motorcycle was found covered up behind the building, which is also being searched.

    The 42-year-old was arrested this morning in Elliniko and is being questioned in the offices of the counter-terrorism service.

    Information mentions that Patroklos Tselentis, who is referred to as "Alekos" or the "Film" by the other arrested suspected members, was negative during the first few hours of his preliminary examination, while he then accepted his participation in "Nove mber 17" and in specific organization actions and he identified individuals who also participated in the organization.

  • [03] N17: SOME CRACK MORE EASILY THAN OTHERS During his preliminary examination, Thomas Serifis mentioned that it was Iraklis Kostaris who recruited him into the organization and brought him into contact with Dimitris Koufontinas, who was then known as "Takis". In fact, according to Thomas Serifis,

    after the Vranopoulos killing, Koufontinas changed his nickname to "Lukas".

    He supported that Koufontinas had explained to him that he would at times participate in subversive actions.

    Thomas Serifis seems to have confessed participating in the theft of rockets from the Sykourio military camp and the theft of military equipment from the Athens War Museum.

    He also supported that near the end of 1993 he was in charge of keeping Michalis Vranopoulos' car under surveillance, although he did not participate in his killing.

    According to information, he also supported that he received money from the organization's so called "treasury" from 1989 to 1993. He supported that he recognized Alexandros Giotopoulos, Christodoulos and Savvas Xeros, Vassilis Tzeortzatos, Theologos Psa radelis, Kostas Karatsolis and Iraklis Kostaris as organization members. According to information, Serifis presented ideological motives and mentioned that he may have hurt some people but he had no personal gain from his actions. Specifically, he said he

    wanted a better society and equal human rights.

    Thomas Serifis will appear before the 4th Regular Examining Judge today.

    On the other hand, Patroklos Tselentis stated he had no participation in N17, despite the persistent questioning of the counter-terrorism service, following in the footsteps of the organization's suspected leading member, Alexandros Giotopoulos, and desp ite the information given about him by arrested organization members.

    Specifically, Christodoulos Xeros and Vassilis Tzortzatos designated him as one of the terrorists that participated in the murders of industrialist Dimitris Aggelopoulos, "Apogevmatini" newspaper publisher Nikos Momferatos and his driver Panagiotis Rouss etis.

    Also, always according to the statements of the two arrested members, he seems to have participated in many bombings and robberies, among which the 1984 Petralona National Bank robbery, in which officer Christos Matis was killed.

    Counter-terrorism officers mentioned that Tselentis seems to be on the organization's "tough guys" and is suspected of participating in many attacks, while the evidence held by the authorities places him right after Alexandros Giotopoulos in the organiza tion's hierarchy.

    Patroklos Tselentis is expected to be taken to the Magistrates' Court DA today.

    Also, Savvas Xeros is expected to be taken to the DA by the middle of next week, provided his health does not deteriorate, in order to receive the legal period to prepare for his testimony.

  • [04] HAIN-PAPANDREOU MEETING - NEW PROPOSALS ON THE EUROARMY During his meeting with Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, British government minister in charge of European Affairs Peter Hain presented new ideas and proposals on the Euroarmy issue. What the British official proposed to the Greek government, was for

    the issue of forming a European military force be re-discussed with new terms and with the condition that Athens, which seems reserved at present, present its own proposals. The issue, as was pointed out, was raised in view of the imminent attack on Iraq .

    During a meeting Mr. Hain had later that evening with alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis he stated that the EU's position on the accession of Cyprus is the same, regardless of whether the Cyprus issue is resolved or not. Mr. Hain stressed that it would be very important for a unified Cyprus to join the EU, instead of a divided one which would bring its problems with it.

    The two ministers also discussed enlargement, immigration and asylum issues, as well as the latest developments on the terrorism front.

    Mr. Hain congratulated the government on its excellent work concerning the terrorist arrests.

  • [05] OLYMPIC VILLAGE SECURITY MEASURES No expenses will be spared on security and hygiene issues by the Greek government in the Olympic village, stated deputy Minister of Labor, Mr. L. Tziolas, in Parliament yesterday. In response to a question by KKE MP D. Tsiogas, who attributed deadly acci dents to the "intensification enforced by the employers", the relevant deputy Minister responded: "After the latest unfortunate events", additional measures have been enforced on the construction sites, "where the employers relax and the companies do not

    do what the law says".

  • [06] GREECE-F.R.YUGOSLAVIA BILATERAL AGREEMENT The road to the gradual saving of the 250 million euro to be used in the coming years in Serbia and Monte Negro, in the framework of the Greek Plan for Balkan Reconstruction, was opened yesterday with the signing of a bilateral agreement between Greece a nd the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    The larger part of the funds will be used to supply the funding for substructure works and the reinstatement of the Leskovats-Vrania freeway during the next two years, as was made known by the Vice President of the Federal republic of Yugoslavia, Mirolju b Labus, who signed the agreement with deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos.

    Based on the agreement, 93% of available funds will be directed to Serbia and the rest to Monte Negro. In the future, another 15 million euro is expected to be disposed to Kossovo. For the time being however, the legal formula based on which the allocati on of the specific funds will proceed is being searched for, and it may possibly be through the use of non-governmental organizations.

  • [07] PAVLOS SERIFIS CONFESSED Pavlos Serifis or "Nikitas" accused Alexandros Giotopoulos, the alleged leader of terrorist group "17 November", of committing the assassinations of CIA Station Chief in Greece Richard Welsh in 1975 and special police forces deputy commander Pantelis Pet rou in 1980.

    Pavlos Serifis admitted during questioning by the examining judge last night that he participated in the terrorist group in the period 1975-1980. He also admitted that he took part in the assassinations of Richard Welsh, Pantelis Petrou and his driver So tiris Stamoulis. He stated that in both cases the executioner was Alexandros Giotopoulos or "Lambros" identifying him as the leader of 17N.

    Pavlos Serifis maintained that he left the terrorist group after an accident he had in 1981. According to law experts, the assassination of CIA Station Chief has been erased based on the statute of Limitations because it was committed more than 20 years ago.

  • [08] SAVVAS XIROS WILL APPEAR BEFORE A COURT OF APPEALS EXAMINING JUDGE Savvas Xiros, a member of "17 November" terrorist group, will appear before a Court of Appeals examining judge by Tuesday. His health condition appears to be improving, however, he is still at Evangelismos Hospital and continues to be heavily guarded.

    According to statements by Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Loverdos the court trials of the "17 November" terrorists will start in 10 months.

  • [09] PROTEST RALLY BY TURKISH POLITICAL REFUGEES Turkish political refugees, DHKC (former DEVRIMCI SOL) supporters, held a protest rally outside the building where the newspapers "TO VIMA" and "TA NEA" are housed in Athens.

    The two newspapers had published the Turkish authorities' views according to which, the organization Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (former Revolutionary Left) was cooperating with terrorist group "17 November". The protesters accused the Turkis h secret service MIT and the CIA of organizing a provocation against DHKC (former DEVRIMCI SOL).

    Referring to their presence in Greece, the protesters stressed that they requested political asylum in Greece and it was granted to them. They also underlined that throughout its history DHKC was openly and actively involved in the Turkish society.

  • [10] PROTOPAPAS DENIES ANY ASSOCIATION BETWEEN 17N AND TURKISH ORGANIZATIONS Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas denied any association of terrorist group "17 November" with Turkish organizations, responding to a statement issued by the Turkish police and clarified that if there is new evidence the Turkish authorities will be briefed.

    Mr. Protopapas also stated that the issue of terrorism is not up for political party exploitation, while the mass media should avoid involving people in terrorism in an arbitrary way.

  • [11] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.65% at 2.058,94 points , while the volume of transactions was at 80.4 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 76 recorded gains and 232 had losses, while the value of 76 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [12] NEW "17 NOVEMBER" ARREST A new "17 November" terrorist group member, allegedly its co-founder and number two in hierarchy after Alexandros Giotopoulos, was arrested today in his house at Liosia in Athens.

    Fifty-year-old Nikolaos Papanastasiou, is originally from Serres, northern Greece and he was the first one who used the code-name "Nikitas". He is being questioned by the police and according to information, he denies all charges against him.

  • [13] GREEK HUMANITARIAN AID TO FYROM The first part of the Greek humanitarian aid has arrived to FYROM's "Gevgeli" Medical Center. The specific medical center consists of the local General Hospital, a Psychiatric Clinic and a Rehabilitation Center.

    The aid was sent after a decision by the Ministry of Health with the active participation of Greek Psychiatric Hospitals and includes medicines, food and clothing items.

    The overall budget of the 3year aid program is at 734.000 Euro.

  • [14] ERROR CORRECTED BY CNN The international television network CNN changed its reference to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM, using its correct name, while it also mentioned that its capital city is Skopje. The correction was made after strong reactions, as for the pa st few days, CNN presented FYROM as "Macedonia" with the Greek city of Pella as its capital.

    In a letter to the MPA General Director, the CNN representatives mentioned that the error in (http://www.cnn/WORLD/europe/sites.html) was restored through a coordinated effort by ChooseGreece ( and CNN's official representat ive in Greece.

  • [15] NIKOLAOS PAPANASTASIOU IS BELIEVED TO BE THE "RIGHT HAND" OF GIOTOPOULOS Nikolaos Papanastasiou, age 50, is allegedly a founding member of terrorist group "17 November" and the "right hand" of Alexandros Giotopoulos. He was arrested earlier in the afternoon at his house in Nea Liosia, Athens.

    Papanastasiou is regarded to be the 17N member who used first the code-name "Nikitas" and has played an important role in the course of the terrorist group. He is originally from the village of Houmniko near Nigrita in Serres, northern Greece and was the

    owner of a pottery shop in Athens. He is the father of a 3yearold son.

    Pavlos Serifis referred to him during his testimony in the early morning hours today.

    According to information, Christodoulos Xiros had also referred to "Nikitas" in his testimony. He had testified that "Nikitas" participated in the assassination of US officer Robert Judd (1984), in the assassination of Athens newspaper "Apogevmatini" pub lisher, Nikos Momferatos and his driver, Giorgos Roussetis (1985) and in the robbery of the National Bank of Greece branch at Petralona, in Athens (1984). Police officer Christos Matis was killed during that robbery.

  • [16] PATROKLOS TSELENTIS APPEARED BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEALS PROSECUTOR Patroklos Tselentis, another member of the terrorist group "17 November", appeared before the Court of Appeals prosecutor today.

    Based on the new legislation on organized crime, he is accused of a number of felonies. Specifically, he is accused of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery with murder. He requested and received more time until Sunday to prepare his testimony.

    Meanwhile, authorities do not make any comments on the information according to which, a police operation was launched in Mitilini, in the northeastern Aegean island of Lesvos last night, aimed at the arrest of Dimitris Koufodinas or another 17N member u nder the code-name "Aris".


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