BOSTON (WHDH) - A Massachusetts man who allegedly obstructed an investigation into fires that were set at Jewish-affiliated institutions in Arlington, Needham, and Chelsea was arrested Wednesday in Sweden, according to United States Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Alexander Giannakakis, 35, formerly of Quincy, was arrested by Swedish authorities in a Stockholm suburb at the request of the United States, Rollins’ office said in a news release.
Giannakakis has since been indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston on charges of making false statements in a matter involving domestic terrorism, falsifying, concealing and covering up a material fact in a matter involving domestic terrorism by trick, scheme and device, concealing records in a federal investigation, tampering with documents and objects, and tampering with an official proceeding.
In February 2020, Giannakakis’ younger brother became the prime suspect in an investigation into four fires that had been set in May 2019, including two at the Chabad Center in Arlington, one at the Chabad Center in Needham, and one at a Jewish-affiliated business in Chelsea, according to the indictment.
Six months after the fourth fire, Giannakakis’ brother was hospitalized and in coma until he ultimately died. Giannakakis then allegedly left the United States for Sweden with his brother’s electronic devices and papers.
When Giannakakis returned to Quincy in March 2020, he was asked by investigators about his brother’s connection to the fires and whether the family had a storage unit. He allegedly told investigators that his parents had a storage unit at a nearby 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 but he allegedly responded that there were no other locations.
The indictment further alleges that Giannakakis knew that these statements and actions were intentionally false and misleading, as the night before he had visited both the storage unit and a second storage unit at the same facility, which contained items belonging to his 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 and 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 brother as an authorized user. It is also alleged that Giannakakis deliberately lied about the second storage unit and concealed it from investigators to prevent them from seizing his brother’s property.
On March 22, 2020, investigators say Giannakakis went to the second storage unit and removed items belonging to his brother that were relevant and material to the ongoing arson investigation, including the backpack and the bottle of cyanide. Later that evening, Giannakakis is said to have departed the United States for Sweden and has not returned since.
The United States plans to seek his extradition to face charges in Boston.
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