February 22, 2005

Net closes round Vavilis


Three more churchmen were drawn yesterday into the burgeoning corruption and gay sex scandal bedeviling the Church of Greece, as police tightened their net around a fugitive drug dealer suspected of playing a pivotal part in the affair.

Apostolos Vavilis, on the Interpol wanted list for a drugs conviction — but until recently apparently far from police priorities — has been linked with the head of the Church, Archbishop Christodoulos, who wrote him a letter of recommendation and allegedly sent him to Jerusalem to monitor the controversial election for a new patriarch in 2001.

Yesterday, police sources said they expected to arrest Vavilis — who is understood to have supplied the force with security equipment while still officially on the run — within the next few days. This followed a weekend raid on a flat used by Vavilis in Holargos, northern Athens.

Yesterday, police said the fugitive’s fingerprints had been found in the flat, which had been rented in the name of Archimandrite Nikodimos Farmakis, a cleric close to Kallinikos, Bishop of Piraeus. Farmakis has denied having rented the flat, but admitted to having visited Vavilis — who has reportedly expressed a desire to surrender — there.

Posted by kshaw at February 22, 2005 09:15 AM