Man indicted for obstructing investigation into fires set at Jewish centers in 2019


The indictment says he mislead investigators and prevented them from getting crucial evidence about his brother.

Surveillance footage of the arson suspect from 2019. FBI

A man who formerly lived in Quincy has been indicted for obstructing a federal investigation into his younger brother’s role in setting fire to three Jewish community institutions in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Alexandar Giannakakis, 35, is charged with making false statements in a matter involving domestic terrorism; falsifying, concealing, and covering up material fact in a matter involving domestic terrorism by trick, scheme, and device; and concealing records in a federal investigation, among other charges.

Giannakakis’s younger brother, who was the primary suspect in the string of arson cases in which someone set fire to Jewish religious centers in Arlington and Needham and a Jewish-affiliated business in Chelsea, has not been named.

However, the Department of Justice did say that Giannakakis’s brother went into a coma and was hospitalized in November 2019, and that he died while in a coma.

The indictment, which was unsealed Wednesday, was made by a federal grand jury in Boston.

According to the indictment, in and around February 2020, Giannakakis’s younger brother became the prime suspect in an investigation into four fires that had been set at Jewish-related institutions in the Boston area.

The first fire was on May 11, 2019, at a Chabad Center in Arlington. The second was at the same location on May 16, 2019. The third was at a Chabad Center in Needham, and the fourth was on May 26, 2019, at a Jewish-affiliated business in Chelsea.

The Department of Justice said in a news release that investigators learned that Giannakakis had allegedly left the U.S. with his younger brother’s electronic devices and papers and brought them to Sweden.

In March 2020, Giannakakis allegedly re-entered the U.S. with his brother’s electronics. While visiting Quincy, he was asked by investigators about his younger brother’s connection to the fires and whether his family had a storage unit.

Giannakakis allegedly told investigators that his parents had a storage unit at a nearby storage facility and later admitted that he maintained and controlled access to it. 

Following a search of the storage unit, Giannakakis was also asked where else his brother might have kept property. Giannakakis allegedly responded that there were no other places his brother might have left his belongings.

The indictment alleges that Giannakakis knew these statements and actions were false and misleading because he visited both the storage unit and a second storage unit at the same facility the night before.

These storage units contained items belonging to his younger brother, including t-shirts with a swastika depicted on the front, a box with his brother’s name on it, his brother’s passport, a notebook with his brother’s name on it with a swastika drawn inside, and a black backpack containing a bottle of cyanide.

Giannakakis had allegedly leased the second storage unit himself and listed his younger brother as an authorized user. The indictment alleges that Giannakakis deliberately lied about the second storage unit and concealed it from investigators to prevent them from seizing his brother’s property. 

Lastly, the indictment alleges that on March 22, 2020, Giannakakis went to the second storage unit and removed items belonging to his younger brother that were relevant to the ongoing arson investigation, including the backpack and the bottle of cyanide. Later that evening, Giannakakis traveled to Sweden and has not returned since. 

Giannakakis has been arrested by Swedish authorities in a Stockholm suburb at the request of the U.S. government. The U.S. government is seeking his extradition to face charges in Boston.

The charges against Giannakakis each carry a sentence of up to eight or 20 years in prison, depending on the charge, as well as three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

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