Thursday, December 24, 2009

ransom rumours: Tassos Papadopoulos is not Friedrich Karl Flick

The Guardian's Helena Smith reported that the Republic of Cyprus had called in Interpol, investigating the possibility of a ransom for Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos's body; but I think they're baseless rumours drawing analogies from the theft of Karl Friedrich Flick's body.

[10.45pm, 10th March 2010 update: the crime has been solved: Tassos Papadopoulos's body was stolen for ransom.]

Romanian gang ransom: the Karl Friedrich Flick case

Like many others, Time's Pelin Turgut noted divided Greek Cypriots' and Turkish Cypriots' shared 'love of conspiracy theories'. I think the ransom rumour is a symptom of this poisonous love.

Phileleftheros recorded that a Romanian gang 'had recently exhumed an Austrian and demanded a ransom from his wife [(π)ρόσφατα είχαν προβεί σε εκταφή Αυστριακού και ζήτησαν λύτρα από τη σύζυγό του]'.

Indeed, the Republic of Cyprus considered it such a serious possibility that 'the authorities appealed to the Ambassador of Romania for the provision of data in connection with this case [ο]ι Αρχές αποτάθηκαν στην πρέσβειρα της Ρουμανίας για παροχή στοιχείων σε σχέση με την υπόθεση αυτή]'. As far as I can tell, that case was the case of Friedrich Karl Flick.

Despite the critical timing of the theft, which could kill the already ailing Cypriot peace process and leave the island permanently partitioned, seemingly many Cypriots believe (the possibility) that a 'mysterious gang of Romanian grave robbers' stole the corpse to ransom it back to the family. Yet there seems to be nothing in common between the crimes.

At least, neither the Austria Press Agency (APA), nor Heute, nor Bild mentioned any similar material or "stylistic" evidence of the M.O.(1) when Friedrich Karl Flick's body was 'stolen [gestohlen]' and ransomed by 'grave-robbers [Grab-Räuber]'.

In Flick's case, a military (ambulance or other) vehicle was not used; and more tellingly, the scene of the crime was not cleaned in any way, let alone with lime. Indeed, a search for "Friedrich Karl Flick" Kalk Grab (or Grabstelle) got four or five irrelevant results; and "Friedrich Karl Flick" Kalziumoxid Grab (or Grabstelle) got no results.

False flag operation

Theoretically, it could be a ransom; but the timing of the theft - both at a critical moment in Cypriot peace negotiations and the night before the anniversary memorial of the death of Tassos Papadopoulos - suggest a political motive for the crime.

It was most probably anti-peace, anti-reconciliation, anti-reunification Greek Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot nationalist extremists. There is an awful possibility that it was a false flag operation, that Greek Cypriot provocateurs stole their own hero Papadopoulos's corpse to blame and incite hatred against their enemy, the Turkish Cypriot community.
  1. Modus operandi: method of operating.
APA (Austria Presse Agentur). 2008: "Wer hat den Friedrich Karl Flick gestohlen?
Sarg mitsamt Leichnam wurden entwendet"., 19. November. Gibt es hier:

Bild. 2009: "Toter Milliardär Flick: Findet er jetzt seinen Frieden?" Bild, 3. Dezember. Gibt es hier:

Heute. 2009: "Fall Flick: Zwei Grab-Räuber gefasst". 9. Dezember. Gibt es hier:;art1303,170705

Phileleftheros. 2009: "Sto skotadi oi erevnes tis protofanous vevilosis tou tafou tou Tassou Papadopoulou [in the dark the investigations of the unprecedented desecration of the tomb of Tassos Papadopoulos]". Phileleftheros, 12i Dekembriou. [Φιλελέφθερος. 2009: "Στο σκοτάδι οι έρευνες της πρωτοφανούς βεβήλωσης του τάφου του Τάσσου Παπαδόπουλου". Φιλελέφθερος, 12η Δεκεμβρίου.] Brisketai sto:,1,22,0,24373-.aspx

Smith, H. 2009: "Cyprus seeks Interpol help to find president's bodysnatchers". The Guardian, 16th December. Available at:

Turgut, P. 2009: "Missing Corpse Clouds Cyprus Peace Process". Time, 16th December. Available at:,8599,1947732,00.html

Welt, der. 2009: "Leiche von zyprischem Ex-Präsidenten gestohlen". Welt Online, 11. Dezember. Gibt es hier:

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