Crime boss and former convict Vassilis Stefanakos, aged 57, was ambushed and gunned down in a mafia-style execution in Athens’ Haidari suburb on Wednesday. Greek Police forensics team have so far recovered 22 bullets shot from a Kalashnikov rifle at the scene and believe that an entire team of hitmen was involved.
The culprits were waiting for Stefanakos outside a building that he used, which housed a pastry workshop on the ground floor and the offices of a company trading in liquid gas on the upper floor. In addition to the two men that shot Stefanakos, investigating officers believe that other individuals had been used to track the victim’s movements and signal to the shooters.
According to police sources, Stefanakos was not an easy target since he always moved about in an armoured car with a bodyguard as an escort.
On Wednesday afternoon, the victim left the first-floor office of the Haidari building with one person escorting him. Police believe that a signal was given to the two hit-men the moment he came out of the building, while the bodyguard followed behind. His two assailants were waiting on a motorbike a short distance away and moved in at speed, as Stefanakos was getting into his BMW. The passenger on the motorbike opened one of the car’s front doors on the passenger side and sprayed the victim with bullets from the Kalashnikov before the bodyguard could intervene. The two culprits then sped away on the motorbike and disappeared.
The area is under lockdown and police are looking for any CCTV footage from cameras around the scene of the shooting, in hopes of finding images of the accomplices of the two hitmen before or after the murder. The motives for the killing are not yet clear but police noted that the victim had differences with many people in the underworld. They have not, however, ruled out the possibility that the murder may be linked to his activities after his release from prison in August 2016.
Stefanakos, described by Greek police as the “crime boss of crime bosses” had been sentenced to 21 years in prison in 2008 for morally instigating a series of murders and 14.5 years in 2006 for an illegal fuel trade protection racket and other criminal acts. He was released after serving nine years in prison. Among others, he had been accused as the person responsible for organising the sensational escape by convicts Vassilis Paleokostas and Alket Rizaj from Korydallos prison using a helicopter.