Trial of alleged Russian mobster sought by France postponed a second time in Thessaloniki

The trial hearing for a 57-year-old Georgian sought as an alleged Russian mafia boss in Europe was postponed for a second time by a Thessaloniki criminal appeals court on Wednesday, after the defendant failed to appear citing health reasons. The trial hearing has been adjourned until May 14.

The defendant was arrested in the northern Greek city two weeks ago during parallel police operations in Greece and France, based on an international warrant for his arrest issued by French authorities. He was due to be tried on Wednesday for a previous case of organised crime, for which he had been convicted to 14 years imprisonment by a Greek court in 2013.

According to the Georgian’s defence lawyers, he had been transferred from Diavates prison, where he is being held, to Papageorgiou hospital for complaints linked to an already recognised disability, through which he had secure his release from prison three years ago based on laws for relieving prison overcrowding. This was the second time that the hearing has been postponed, since the defendant also claimed sudden illness and was taken from the courtroom to Papageorgiou hospital after the hearing began last week.

The same man is sought by French authorities, who have asked for his extradition so that he can be tried in France for allegedly heading an outfit that committed a series of thefts in Brittany and Normandy. A decision on his extradition will be made by the Thessaloniki appeals judges’ council.

Other charges against him include that of money-laundering, allegedly committed after 2016.