Federal authorities in Sweden have arrested a former security contractor for the U.S. embassy in Stockholm. According to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, U.S. authorities have charged him with covering up the alleged crimes of his younger brother, the prime suspect in an investigation into anti-Semitic arson in the Boston area.
Alexander Giannakakis, formerly of Quincy, Massachusetts, was indicted by a Boston grand jury in September, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney’s office in the District of Massachusetts. He is currently awaiting extradition.
Within about two weeks in May 2019, a series of four fires had broken out at Chabad centers and a Jewish-affiliated business in the Boston area. The fires only caused some minor exterior damage to the buildings before being extinguished, but the indictment says the events “traumatized the Jewish community in and around Boston.” Investigators suspected arson with a liquid accelerant and were looking at the fires as potential hate crimes and acts of domestic terrorism.
In November 2019, Giannakakis’ brother, who goes unnamed in the indictment, was hospitalized in a coma, where he died that same month. According to the indictment, by early 2020, this brother was the prime and only suspect in the case. Fingerprints results came in around that time and his matched those found on a can containing acetone that a person had dropped while fleeing the scene of one of the fires. Also, in Jan. 2020, the FBI interviewed Giannakakis’ brother’s mom, who, according to the indictment, “confirmed the suspect’s anti-Semitic views.”
The indictment alleges Giannakakis had been in Sweden, but returned to the U.S. in early 2020 to handle his brother’s affairs. He took his brother’s cellphone, laptop, and other electronics, along with sketches, writings, and mail from his bedroom at their parents’ house and brought them to Sweden, authorities say.
They claim he brought some of the items back in March 2020, at which point federal agents executed a search warrant at Giannakakis’ parents’ house hoping to question him. There, according to the indictment, they found anti-semitic writings in his brother’s bedroom that included statements like, “A world without Jews, is a world without scum. Something we should aim for,” and, “We must kill, we must kill all Jews. That is simply essential.”
Giannakakis then led authorities to a storage facility which he initially claimed his parents controlled, before revealing that he was the one who maintained it. Authorities allege he then lied to them, saying there was nowhere else his brother might have kept his possessions, even though Giannakakis maintained a second storage unit that held his brother’s belongings. Among them: T-shirts with swastikas on them, his brother’s passport, a notebook with his brother’s name on it and a swastika drawn inside, and a backpack containing a bottle of cyanide.
On March 22, 2020, the indictment alleges, Giannakakis removed items from the second storage unit including the cyanide in the backpack and went back to Sweden.
Giannakakis faces five counts: 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. The most serious of the offenses could earn him up to 20 years in prison if he’s convicted. Giannakakis’ lawyer in Boston declined to comment on the case.