Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Life imprisonment for defendants in Andis’ murder

Andis Hadjicostis’ parents Costis (L) and Toulla following the announcement of the verdict

By Elias Hazou

The Nicosia Criminal Court on Thursday delivered its verdict in the trial for the slaying of Sigma boss Andis Hadjicostis, finding all four defendants guilty as charged.

The decision — contained in a 380-page verdict — by the bench was unanimous.

The four defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment.

They are: former TV presenter Elena Skordelli, her brother Tasos Krasopoulis, Andreas Gregoriou and Grigoris Xenofontos. They have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and of the premeditated murder of Hadjicostis.

Hadjicostis was shot dead with a shotgun on January 11, 2010, while leaving his home in the Engomi neighborhood of Nicosia. He was 41 years old.

Earlier in the day, the court deemed that Fanos Hadjigeorgiou – the man who admitted to driving the getaway bike following the gunning down of media boss Hadjicostis – was a credible witness.

The prosecution’s case hinged on the testimony of Fanos Hadjigeorgiou, who had turned state’s witness and was placed in a witness protection programme.

According to the court’s verdict, Skordelli and her brother – both shareholders in Sigma television – masterminded the assassination of Hadjicostis, whom they saw as impeding their plans to gain a controlling interest in the station.

The motive, the court said, was revenge as well as the sidelining of Hadjicostis.
Skordelli and her brother began hatching plans to kill the Sigma boss as far back as October 2009.

The judges also accepted that a meeting of the conspirators took place at Krasopoulis’ house in December 2009.

The court said moreover that authorities’ failure to locate the murder weapon could not be taken to mean that no crime was committed.

The sawn-off shotgun, used to shoot Hadjicostis twice, was never recovered.

The court rejected the argument that the defendants’ constitutional rights were violated due to the delay in the start of the trial. It also dismissed claims that media coverage of the case may have prejudiced the trial.

Tempers flared inside the jam-packed courtroom on the announcement of the verdict. Relatives of the defendants began shouting and jostling with police officers, and a number of people were evacuated from a back door.

Skordelli, 42, a former TV presenter, hails from the village of Pera Orinis, as does her brother Krasopoulis, 37, a civil servant. Gregoriou, 33, is a butcher from Tseri, and Xenofontos, 29, a plumber from Nicosia.

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