IT'S GOING TO TAKE MANY ARTICLES TO TELL THE STORY OF THE FINAL GREEK MAFIA WAR OF THE 20TH CENTURY. SO, I DECIDED TO FIRST WRITE ABOUT THE CAST OF MAIN CHARACTERS:
VASSILIS GRIGORAKOS (FATHER OF NIKOS AND THEODOROS)
NIKOS GRIGORAKOS (OLDER BROTHER OF THEODOROS)
THEODOROS GRIGORAKOS (YOUNGER BROTHER OF NIKOS)
NIKOS YIANNOPOULOS (WAS CO-LEADER OF EXTORTION RING)
GIORGOS TSAKOYIANNIS (WAS CO-LEADER WITH NIKOS Y.)
In the late 1980's, Vassilis brought his family back from New York, where they had been living, to settle in the eastern Athens suburb of Ilioupolis. Vassilis and his eldest son Nikos initially became involved in protection rackets but soon formed a large network of people from the established gangland of Athens, active in the southern coastal suburbs. Vasisilis, reminiscent of the ancient Spartans, brought up his kids to be tough as nails and molded them into hardcore young men.
Nikos (aka Nick the Greek aka N.T.G.) was a big, bearded, burly, tough, biker-like bad ass who was known for being a one punch knock out striker and a man with nine lives. He was also known for wearing his biker jacket and jeans instead of suits and ties. He led by example and had a loyal following. He would never ask you to do something he would not do himself.
Theodoros (aka Teddy), also of a large stature, was a top martial artist who could do the splits as easy as I can sit on a chair.
Of course, they were good with all sorts of weapons as well.
In 1996, someone snitched..possibly an extortion victim but no one is for sure. It was reported a cafe owner in Ilioupolis went to the police, leading to the arrest of Nikos and Theodoros Grigorakos, Giorgos Tsakoyiannis, Nikos Yiannopoulos, Yiannis Sotiropoulos, Thanasis Billis and his brother Dimitris Billis.
In 1998, they were all back on the street and things were not the same. Basically, Tsakoyiannis and Yiannopoulos together ran the extortion racket which concentrated on nighclubs and bars in Athens. Before the arrests, the Grigorakos men worked for them. The Grigorakos family (especially Nikos) expanded their extortion territory to include such businesses as parking lots, repair shops, street vendors, etc. It came to the point where 80% of the territory came by Grigorakos hard work attaining new extortion victims. Nick had a saying, "A little from a lot of people..not a lot from a little people." He easily convinced people they could not depend on the police. "Why not pay 50 euros a week to make sure you are protected?", he would plea.
Nikos Yiannopoulos had many hard core soldiers and Giorgos Tsakoyiannis had the high level police connections. Even though the Grigorakos family had done so much for them, N.Y. and G.T. barely shared any of the spoils with the hungry Greek-Americans. So, when they did get out of jail in 1998, tension was in the air moneywise and trustwise. Nick the Greek was collecting extortion money and was not kicking it up the ladder. Whether the Americans were right or wrong, they were "steppin' on toes" left and right. The soldiers split into two camps..the Grigorakos camp and the Yiannopoulos camp. Tsakoyiannis played the neutral mediator but in reality was in the Yiannopoulos camp.
Part Two coming soon!!
THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON GREEKORGANIZEDCRIME.BLOGSPOT.COM