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18 July, 2024
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Alleged brain behind 1997 murder of Russian gangster arrested

Stopped by Greek police in Thessaloniki airport after flying in from Cyprus

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

The man Greek authorities believe is the brain behind the murder of infamous Russian hitman Alexander Solonik and his girlfriend in southern Athens in 1997 was arrested at Thessaloniki’s international airport on Monday afternoon.

The suspect is a 48-year-old Greek national from Georgia with a pending arrest warrant in connection with the two murders. He was stopped by Greek police at the airport after a flight from Cyprus.

Thirty-seven-year-old Alexander Solonik (also known as Sasha Makedonsky), Russia’s number one professional killer, had fled from his country to Greece with a fake passport, which he secured from the Greek consulate in Moscow, according to media reports on the crime.

He was found strangled in the Athenian suburb of Baribobi on February 2. Three months later, in May, police found his girlfriend, 21-year-old model and former “Miss Russia” Svetlana Kotova, in a shallow grave. The body had been dismembered and stuffed into the suitcase.

In the weeks after Solonik’s body was found, police raided the villas belonging to Solonik’s organization and found an arsenal of weapons.

Another Russian hitman and former Solonik associate, Alexander Pustovalov, was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2016 for killing six people, including Solonik and Kotova.

Cyprus  |  Greece  |  crime  |  mafia

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