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Boston Area Man Arrested in Sweden in Connection with Antisemitic Arson Investigation

Alexander Giannakakis screenshot

UPDATE February 4, 2024: Giannakakis has been extradited from Sweden to Boston to face charges alleging that he obstructed the investigation, US federal prosecutors say; more here.

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Authorities in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden have arrested a former resident of Quincy, MA who is accused of obstructing an investigation into fires set at Jewish institutions during 2019, federal officials announced.

Alexander Giannakakis, 35, formerly of Quincy, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including making false statements in a matter involving domestic terrorism; the full indictment can be found here.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins, Giannakakis’ younger brother was a prime suspect in an investigation into four fires that were set in Arlington, Needham and Chelsea during May 2019.

The FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information in the case in August and shared surveillance images of a hooded man near the scene of the fires.

Rollins’ office said Giannakakis’ younger brother died after being hospitalized and comatose since Nov. 2019, about six months after the fourth fire.

Investigators allege that Giannakakis left the United States with electronics and papers belonging to his younger brother, then returned with the electronics in March of 2020. He is also accused of misleading the investigators at that time by concealing the existence of a storage unit that contained items belonging to his brother.

Rollins’ office said those belongings included items relevant to the investigation, including shirts bearing a swastika 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.

“It is alleged that Giannakakis deliberately lied about the second storage unit and concealed it from investigators to prevent them from seizing his brother’s property,” the U.S. Attorney’s office wrote.

Giannakakis is accused of removing his brother’s items from that storage unit before again leaving the country for Sweden. He has not returned since.

Rollins’ office said it plans to seek the extradition of Giannakakis from Sweden to Boston, so he can face trial.