The clock is ticking for the search of James Dalamangas’ whereabouts in Greece, where Australian authorities believe the wanted fugitive is “still currently residing” since 1999.
But Greek police say they have not received or collected any intelligence to this day that could lead to his arrest.
“No lead anonymous or otherwise has been received to this day by the Intelligence Division of the Hellenic Police Attica Headquarters for the specified wanted person, leading to locating him and his arrest, while every relevant information received in the past, was reviewed without generating any result,” Hellenic Police said in a statement provided to Neos Kosmos.
On Tuesday, the Australian Federal Police and the New South Wales Police issued a joint statement on a renewed global appeal to locate James Dalamangas as the 25-year-long Greek statute of limitations for his prosecution is to be completed in April this year.
This means that Dalamangas could no longer be prosecuted in Greece.
“Mr Dalamangas could be a free man this year under the Greek statute of limitations, which is why it’s a priority of the NSW Police Force to up the ante and make sure he’s brought to justice – whether that’s here or offshore, we will never stop chasing,” Detective Superintendent Grant Taylor, Commander of NSW State Crime Command’s Criminal Group Squad told a press conference.
The official acknowledged that time is running out in getting Dalamangas before a Greek court.
“Within Greece, he may not be prosecuted after April,” he said.
“If Dalamangas were to leave Greece, then all bets are off.”
Dalamangas, now 54, is one of Australia’s most wanted murder suspects.
An arrest warrant was issued a day after his alleged involvement in an April 25, 1999, stabbing at a nightclub in the Sydney suburb of Belmore that left 32-year-old George Giannopoulos dead.
“Dalamangas was able to flee the country soon after the incident took place, and we believe he went to Greece and has remained in Greece ever since,” Det Supt Taylor said.
After attempts to extradite the fugitive from Greece were not successful in 2003, Greek authorities agreed to commence the prosecution of Dalamangas over his alleged role in the murder. That process was suspended in 2007 when he could not be located.
Greek police stated to Neos Kosmos that a 2003 warrant issued for his arrest over the crime of murder with intent is still in effect.
“The relevant prosecution documents have been filed in the National Database of the respective Service, as provisioned, and the specified individual is declared wanted across the Greek territory by all responsible prosecution authorities (Hellenic Police, Hellenic Coastguard, Special Secretariat of Financial and Economic Crime Unit, Hellenic Custom Services),” the statement concluded.
Through the Australian Federal Police, the New South Wales Police Force said it continues to work closely with Greek authorities in their bid to find Dalamangas.
“The AFP has a strong relationship with the Hellenic Police, who are highly-capable and trusted partners, and we will work with our partners in NSW and around the world to leverage every avenue to ensure this man is brought to justice,” said AFP Superintendent Transnational Operations Jared Taggart adding that AFP Special Investigators based in the region are liaising with Greek authorities.
The renewed appeal for information by Australian authorities, was made together with the family of deceased George Giannopoulos.
“Today, we’re directly appealing to members of our Greek community – and those who might hear our pleas in Greece – that now is the time to come forward.
“We also want to remind people there is a $200,000 reward in place for information leading to the arrest of Mr Dalamangas – that’s approximately $123,000 in euros and can be claimed internationally,” Det Supt Taylor said.
In the televised press conference, the victim’s sister, Toula Giannopoulos, made a plea for help in finding the suspect in her brother’s killing, so the family, including his children aged 8 and 4 at the time of his death, can find closure.
“I believe there’s people, both here and in Greece, who are covering him [Dalamangas] up, and it makes it damn hard for my family.
“It’s been 25 years of battling through loss and grief with no justice or closure to help us through this pain,” Ms Giannopoulos said.
Records indicate Mr Dalamangas is of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean appearance, approximately 182cm tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and a Greek inscription tattoo on his right forearm. He may be using the names ‘James’, ‘Jim’ or ‘Tim’ with surnames ‘Dimitrious’ or ‘Kanis’.
Anyone with information is urged to contact police in Australia or Greece and can remain anonymous.