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Skorpios sealed off from tourists

Skorpios island in the Ionian Sea

Skorpios sealed off from tourists.

Holiday hoping to visit the nearby islet of Skorpios shouldn't hold their breath. The private Greek Islands, formerly owned by Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis, has been sealed off from tourists since it was sold to the daughter of Russian oligarch Dmitri Rybolovlev, earlier this year.

Tourist trips to the island were common last year before the island was sold although access was restricted to swimming in a couple of small coves.

Since Skorpios was sold to Rybolovlev, the whole island has become a forbidden area for tourists.

Specially trained French and American bodyguards, guard the island 24 hours a day using high-tech surveillance equipment,.

Despite the strict security measures, the Russian wants even more protection. Security analysts for Russian billionaire want security patrols by frogmen to prevent underwater access over the summer.

The Greek police have yet to give their approval for such a heavy private security measure. If Rybolovlev is refused he could take his case to the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection and hire Greek police to carry out security patrols.

Police on neighbouring Lefkas have already refused as they don't have the manpower to provide security on Skorpios.

Skorpios, which changed hands for a reported €100 million, is one of 10 small islets off the Lefkas coastline. The others are Meganissi, Kalamos, Kastos, Madouri, Skorpidi, Thilia, Petalou and Kythros. The island is just 4km from the popular Lefkas resort of Nidri and clearly visible from there.

Skorpios was once the private island of Aristotle Onassis who lived there with Jacqueline Kennedy, the former wife of the assassinated US president John Kennedy.

The island hosted many famous celebrities including the opera star Maria Callas and movie star Greta Garbo. It was also the venue for Onassis's 1968 wedding to Jacqueline Kennedy.

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