Greek mafia

The Greek mafia (Greek: Ελληνική μαφία Ellinikí mafía) is the colloquial term used to refer to various organized crime elements originating from Greece. Indigenous organized criminal groups are well-entrenched in the largest Greek urban centers, particularly in Athens. Organized crime has thrived in Greece in part thanks to the widespread political corruption in the country itself.[1] The Greek mafia should not be confused with Greek street gangs, who take part in smaller street crime. Outside of the domestic Greek criminal organizations, the Sicilian Mafia, Camorra, and Albanian, Russian and Georgian mafia groups have been operating in Greece in collaboration with the domestic criminal syndicates.[2]

In the United States, the term "Greek mafia" may also include or refer specifically to various Greek-American organized crime groups. Notable ethnic Greek or Greek-American organized crime groups in the United States include the Philadelphia Greek Mob in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Velentzas crime family in New York City. Greek-American crime groups vary in the extent of their connections to Greek mafia groups in Europe; some Greek-American crime groups may be only loosely connected or even completely independent of Greek mafia groups in Europe, while certain Greek-American crime groups may essentially be American extensions of Greek mafia groups in Europe.

Greek mafia
Founding locationGreece
TerritoryGreece, Albania, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, France, United States (Cypriots), Australia, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Cyprus, South Africa, and other parts of Africa
MembershipGreek Americans, Maniots, Athenians, Peloponnesians, Cretans, Cypriots, various other Greek islanders, Pontic Greeks
Criminal activitiesDrug trafficking, arms trafficking, assassination, assault, bank fraud, bankruptcy, blackmailing, bribery, bombing, contract killing, extortion, fraud, entryism, illegal gambling, Insurance fraud, kidnapping, money laundering, murder, police corruption, political corruption, protection racket, racketeering, tax evasion, witness intimidation, witness tampering
AlliesSicilian mafia
Russian mob
Albanian mafia
Philadelphia Greek Mob
Velentzas crime family
Greek Core(South Cartel)
Greek North

Godfathers of the night

Greek crime bosses are locally described as νονοί της νύχτας (translated as "Godfathers of the night"). Largely operating as owners of nightclubs, Greek crime groups are able to operate their illegal businesses from there on.[3] In contrast to the Sicilian mafia or the Albanian mafia, Greek criminal groups follow the same structure organized gangs have within the French Milieu or the Penose in the Netherlands. Domestically, they are largely smaller organized crime cells, sometimes family-based, who collaborate but from time to time also feud with one another. There are close to 217 known domestic crime lords operating in the country.[4] Internationally, the smuggling and racketeering practices have a larger reach, and are not necessarily based on Greek nationals alone. With the need to infiltrate and manipulate multiple types of businesses in order to successfully smuggle internationally, more often than not such organisations resemble professional international cartels rather than traditional organised crime groups.


A substantial number of Greek organised crime groups are centered in Athens. However, many other (semi) organised groups operate throughout other cities, and even villages. Criminal clans can have their origins from all over Greece: Mafia groups in the bigger cities are especially involved in racketeering, the illegal smuggling of oil, money laundering, weapon and drug trafficking as well as murder.[5]

Criminal groups on the Greek mainland have also profited from the activities of corrupt officials. Arms, narcotics and illegal oil are smuggled by Greek criminal organizations, often in collaboration with Albanian or Russian mafia groups, from local seaports to important destination centers such as the docks of Naples or Antwerp.[1] (Cretan mafia) Outside of the urban centers, the island of Crete is known for having regional family-based crime clans involved in the cultivating and trafficking of marijuana on a domestic as well as an international level. Kidnapping and weapon trafficking are activities of choice as well, often collaborating with the Albanian mafia.[1] An example is the village Zoniana which is a known ground zero for Cretan drug lords, such as the Parasyris family.[6] In general, Greek organised crime groups are active on the Greek mainland, as well as in other parts of Europe. Activity is mainly focused upon the areas of cigarette smuggling and the trafficking of marihuana, hashish and weapons. European cities are deeply affected by Greek organized crime in the form of narcotics smuggling.[7] Recently, under pressure from the European union, Greece, and numerous other European countries, have stepped up their war on smuggling, making numerous arrests and otherwise disabling the organizations in collaboration with European law enforcement agencies.[8][9][10]

In Greece

With Greece holding a large percentage of the world's maritime merchant shipping, a substantial amount of Greek grown marijuana is shipped throughout Europe on a yearly basis. Grown on remote farms and fields, mainly on the island of Crete and the Peloponnese peninsula, it has found its way into the heart of most western and middle-European cities, regardless of efforts made to halt this phenomenon.

In the Netherlands

The Netherlands in particular, with its lenient view of cannabis use, has many dealings with international (and often untraceable) smuggling rings. This is also made possible by the extensive use of maritime merchant ships, and their difficult to regulate and inspect cargo. The "tolerating" laws regarding cannabis, make the selling and usage of marijuana, legal in the Netherlands. However, the cultivation and transportation of cannabis is still illegal. This offers smugglers a strong market with high demand for their product.[11] it is speculated that for a large part, Greek-based cartels are at work. However, prosecuting such members is difficult due to the non-hierarchical nature of the organisation(s).

In North America

North American cities with a large Greek community have traditionally also been home to ethnic Greek criminal organizations, well-known ones being the Velentzas crime family the Philadelphia Greek Mob and the Voidonikolas-Georgakopoulos-Leoutsakos Laconian Canadian crime syndicate families.[12] These organizations, have secretly operated for decades, and are notoriously powerful.

In Africa

In Africa, A small Greek crime syndicate ran casinos throughout the region of middle Africa, and in the country of South-Africa throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Gambling has always been a staple of the Greeks. Horse racing, cards, casinos and black market dealings. It is safe to assume that Greek-organised crime is difficult to disintegrate, since these groups form, break-up and reform when it suits their interest. For this reason it is often compared to the Italian Camorra, which at times has worked on a similar model. Major differences the Italian Camorra relies mainly on extortion and racketeering, whereas Greek organised crime relies mainly on smuggling.[13]

In other countries around the world

Secretive Greek Cypriot crime families are known to operate in Cyprus, The United Kingdom, as well as South Africa. Cypriots, although ethnically Greek. There is also a presence of organised crime among Pontic Greeks who, like Cypriots, are ethnically Greek, but have their own traditions. Outside of the Americas and Europe, there is also reportedly a strong Greek organised crime presence in Australia. Greek members of organised crime have always been good at working with other ethnic groups along with their own local Greek groupings, which can at times give them an advantage over other organisations. There was also reportedly a Greek presence in the Chicago mafia, known as the outfit, the number two or three man for years. Depending on various reports it was Gus Alex. The Chicago outfit, unlike the New York family's, has had high ranking associates in positions of real importance and power over the years. Gus Alex was the highest ranking non Italian associate, as he reportedly formed a three-man ruling panel in the late sixties early seventies. The three-man ruling panel, consisting of a Greek and two Italians, ran the Chicago outfit for an unknown period of time.


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Πέπλο τρόμου στη νύχτα". Espresso. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  4. ^ artemis. "Νονοί της νύχτας: Τα μεγάλα ονόματα". Direct News. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  5. ^ phaistos networks s.a. " - Καθημερινή ενημέρωση με ειδήσεις και θέματα από την Ελλάδα και τον κόσμο". Pathfinder. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Με το κόμμα της Ντόρας είχε κατέβει ο εκ των αρχηγών της μαφίας στην Κρήτη! ::". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  7. ^ " - ΚΟΣΜΟΣ : Οι μαφιόζοι των ημερών μας". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Regional organized crime empowered in Southeastern Europe". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  9. ^ A. Makris. "Cyprus: Five Arrested for 26 kg of Cannabis". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Greek man extradited to Cyprus to face drugs charges". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  11. ^ "The connection between Amsterdam's coffeeshops and organized crime -". Amsterdam Tourist Information. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  12. ^ "PHILADELPHIA'S UNDERWORLD WAR - 2 IN 'GREEK MOB' FALL -". 31 May 1981. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Drugs seized in Igumenica. Albanian driver arrested - Top Channel". Retrieved 26 December 2014.

External links

Administrative divisions of Greece

Following the implementation on 1 January 2011 of the Kallikratis Plan, the administrative divisions of Greece consist of two main levels: the regions and the municipalities. In addition, a number of decentralized administrations overseeing the regions exist as part of the Ministry of the Interior, but are not entities of local government. The old prefectures were either abolished and split up or transformed into regional units in 2011. The administrative regions are divided into regional units which are further subdivided into municipalities.The Eastern Orthodox monastic community on Mount Athos is an autonomous self-governing entity.

Banking in Greece

Banking in Greece is an industry that has an average leverage ratio (assets/net worth) 16 to 1, and short-term liabilities equal to 35% of the Greek GDP or 38% of the Greek national debt, as of 11 October 2008.

On the 29th of June 2015 banks were shut down and capital controls were imposed.As of October 2018, the capital controls were brought to an end

Bank of Greece

Climate of Greece

The climate in Greece is predominantly Mediterranean. However, due to the country's unique geography, Greece has a remarkable range of micro-climates and local variations. To the west of the Pindus mountain range, the climate is generally wetter and has some maritime features. The east of the Pindus mountain range is generally drier and windier in summer. The highest peak is Mount Olympus, 2,918 metres (9,573 ft). The north areas of Greece have a transitional climate between the continental and the Mediterranean climate. There are mountainous areas that have an alpine climate.

Environmental issues in Greece

This page covers environmental issues in Greece.

Geographic regions of Greece

The traditional geographic regions of Greece (Greek: γεωγραφικά διαμερίσματα, literally "geographic departments") are the country's main historical-geographic regions, and were also official administrative regional subdivisions of Greece until the 1987 administrative reform. Despite their replacement as first-level administrative units by the newly defined administrative regions (Greek: περιφέρειες), the nine traditional geographic divisions—six on the mainland and three island groups—are still widely referred to in unofficial contexts and in daily discourse.

As of 2011, the official administrative divisions of Greece consist of 13 regions (Greek: περιφέρειες)—nine on the mainland and four island groups—which are further subdivided into 74 regional units and 325 municipalities. Formerly, there were also 54 prefectures or prefectural-level administrations.

Government of Greece

Government of Greece (officially: Government of the Hellenic Republic; also Greek Government or Hellenic Government) is the government of the Third Hellenic Republic, reformed to its present form in 1974.The head of government is the Prime Minister of Greece. He recommends ministers and deputy ministers to the President of the Republic for an appointment. The prime minister, the ministers, and the alternate ministers belong to the Ministerial Council, the supreme decision-making committee. Usually, ministers and alternates sit in the Parliament. They are accountable to the Constitution. Deputy ministers are not members of the government.

Other collective government bodies, apart from the Ministerial Council, are the Committee on Institutions, the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence and others, including particular government policy issues.

Greek dress

Greek dress refers to the clothing of the Greek people and citizens of Greece from the antiquity to the modern times.

Hellenic Armed Forces

The Hellenic Armed Forces (Greek: Eλληνικές Ένοπλες Δυνάμεις, Ellinikés Énoples Dynámis) are the combined ground, naval and air forces of Greece. They consist of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, the Hellenic Army, the Hellenic Navy, and the Hellenic Air Force.

The civilian authority overseeing the Hellenic Armed Forces is the Ministry of National Defense.

History of the Greeks in Baltimore

The history of the Greeks in Baltimore dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Baltimore is home to one of the largest Greek American communities in the United States. The community is centered in the Greektown and Highlandtown neighborhoods of East Baltimore.

Human rights in Greece

Human rights in Greece are observed by various organizations. The country is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The Greek constitution also guarantees fundamental human rights to all Greek citizens.

List of castles in Greece

This is a list of castles in Greece.

List of lakes of Greece

This is a list of lakes of Greece.

List of volcanoes in Greece

This is a list of active and extinct volcanoes in Greece.

List of years in Greece

This is a list of years in Greece.

Philadelphia Greek Mob

Philadelphia's Greek Mob, also known as the Philadelphia Greek Mafia or simply the Greek Mafia, are a low-profile criminal organization of ethnic Greek Americans in Philadelphia with alleged connections to the Italian Philadelphia crime family.

Telecommunications in Greece

The telecommunications and postal services market in Greece is regulated by the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT).

Trade unions in Greece

Trade unions in Greece include:




Greek Trade Union of Cleaners and Housekeepers

Anarcho-Syndicalist initiative Rocinante.

Zoe Pound

Zoe Pound is a criminal street gang based in Miami, Florida founded by Haitian immigrants in the Mid 1990s.

Organized crime groups in Europe
British Isles
The Netherlands
Post-Soviet states

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