Greek Hip-Hop Artist Used Gambling to Launder Funds From ATM Thefts

Posted on: December 5, 2023, 06:45h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2023, 03:18h.

Authorities in Greece have taken trap musician Don Leon and two other suspects into custody in connection with a series of ATM robberies. The trio now faces a long list of charges, including laundering the money through area casinos.

Greek hip-hop artist Don Leon in sunglasses
Greek hip-hop artist Don Leon in sunglasses. He faces charges stemming from a string of ATM thefts in the country. (Image: Reddit)

The Greek City Times reports that the accused face indictments for orchestrating ten explosive attacks targeting ATMs, resulting in an estimated theft of approximately €710K (about $769K). Police discovered a plethora of weaponry, explosives, and substantial amounts of cash when they raided a property near Athens this week.

The crooks forcibly broke into the ATMs in what they believed were “victimless” crimes. Law enforcement apprehended the trio in Kifisia shortly after their latest alleged heist at an ATM in Ermioni, about two hours south of Athens.

That theft reportedly put about €198,515 (US$214,971) in their pockets. It also provided enough clues for investigators to track down the gang.

Flaunted Riches

Police confiscated an extensive range of items, including explosives, at least one M16 rifle, handguns, and pyrotechnic devices. The Hellenic Police said in a statement that it was the first time they had come across an M16, an automatic rifle typically found in the U.S. Armed Forces, that may have been used in criminal activity.

The police also seized cables, burglary tools, vehicles, mobile phones, and more, and €206,570 (US$223,694) in cash. Additionally, law enforcement arrested a family member of one of the suspects for violating weapon laws. Numerous firearms and cartridges were discovered at that unnamed person’s residence.

The trio allegedly flaunted their riches everywhere, in person and online. Their purported method of concealing illicit profits involved lavishly squandering the money in the music sector and gambling ecosystem.

Leon, whose real name is Nikiforos Bouklis, is an established hip-hop music artist in Greece. He specializes in trap, which began about 30 years ago in the U.S. and is fused with some traditional Greek music. He allegedly used his connections in the music industry to convert some of the stolen money into clean cash by pumping up the cost of his music video productions.

Repeat Offender

The 28-year-old Leon, recognized for his genre-bending music, previously faced legal trouble in 2021 for the same offenses. He only gained his freedom at the beginning of this year.

Upon his first arrest, he defiantly pleaded not guilty to most charges. There were more than 30 total, and he agreed to plead guilty to just three.

Following his release, he claimed his crimes were an “isolated” incident, the result of a necessity to put food on the table for his family. He justified his actions publicly by saying the banks’ insurance would cover the stolen money and the vehicle owners’ insurance would protect the stolen cars.

However, there’s no insurance for attempted murder. That is another charge Leon may face if investigators can find enough evidence. An attempted ATM attack in October led to a shootout between the robbers and security guards.

There is no direct evidence linking Leon to the attack. However, the rapper allegedly joked about it in several recent songs.