Mass. Man Arrested In Sweden In Connection To Fires At Jewish Institutions

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A former Quincy resident is under arrest for allegedly obstructing an investigation into fires set at Jewish-affiliated institutions in Massachusetts back in May of 2019, according to U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins.

Alexander Giannakakis was arrested by Swedish authorities in a suburb of the capital Stockholm after a request by federal authorities in the U.S. He was indicted by a federal grand jury for making false statements and concealing evidence and records during a federal investigation involving domestic terrorism.

In February of 2020, Giannakakis' younger brother was the prime suspect in an investigation into a series of fires set off in May of 2019 that targeted Jewish institutions. The first two fires happened at a Chabad Center in Arlington, the third was at a Chabad Center in Needham, and the fourth was at a Jewish-affiliated business in Chelsea.

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However, at the time of the investigation, the brother had been hospitalized and in a coma since 2019 and later died. Investigators then learned Giannakakis had left the country and gone to Sweden with some of his brother's electronic devices and records, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

When he returned to the U.S. in March 2020, he was questioned by authorities about his brother's involvement in the fires and if his family had a storage unit. He allegedly made false and misleading comments to investigators about the storage unit and a second one in the same facility that held items belonging to his brother.

The second storage unit reportedly contained items belonging to Giannakakis' brother, including t-shirts and notebooks with swastikas and the brother's passport. The U.S. Attorney's office said Giannakakis went to the second storage unit on March 22, 2020, and removed items including a backpack and a bottle of cyanide before leaving the country. He has not returned since.

If convicted of his most serious charge, Giannakakis faces up to 20 years in prison. He is set to be extradited to the U.S. to face charges in Boston.

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