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Bribery allegations in Ayia Napa murder case

The scene of the murder in Ayia Napa last June

The son of one of the defence lawyers in the trial of the Ayia Napa gangland shooting last June, in which four people were killed, has tried to tamper with a key prosecution witness by offering a bribe in exchange for his silence, it was alleged in court on Monday.

Businessman Theofanis Theofanous ‘Kalopsidiotis’, policeman Elias Hadjiefthimiou and wife Skevi, as well as Yani Vogli, one of the two shooters, were killed in the attack at the Stone Garden restaurant in Ayia Napa.

Marios ‘Benny’ Christodoulou, Sofia Gregoriou, Panayiotis Pentafkas, and Loy Dejan, one of Kalopsidiotis’ bodyguards, were charged in connection with the murders.

Benny and Gregoriou then made plea bargains and turned prosecution witnesses, leaving Pentafkas and Dejan as sole defendants.

On the stand on Monday was Charalambos Andreou, one of the conspirators who was arrested soon after the murders and also made a plea bargain and testified for the prosecution.

During cross-examination by Pentafkas’ lawyer Nikos Demetriou, Andreou said “Benny and Pentafkas showed me the spot I was to leave the getaway car” after the murders.

Andreou denied receiving any threats in connection with implicating Andreas Rodotheou – Kalopsidiotis’ rumoured arch-nemesis, murdered last month – but conceded that he was afraid.

“Anyone would be afraid of people of the underworld, who have money and can do anything,” he said.

He then testified that while he was held at the Lakatamia police station, “before I pled guilty, a certain gentleman approached my parents and offered them €100,000 to keep my mouth shut, have 24-hour protection, secure a not-guilty verdict, and get me another lawyer”.

“My parents replied that they wouldn’t sell their son for €100,000, and that I should pay for what I did, if I was guilty,” Andreou said.

“This person is in this courtroom today, and if I am allowed I can say the name.”

According to Andreou, the person who approached his parents was Christoforos Demetriou, son of Pentafkas’ defence lawyer.

During one of the calls to his father, Andreou continued, “my lawyer took the phone and told him that I have a lawyer already and not to bother me again”.

“I was told these things by my parents recently,” he said.

Demetriou submitted that Andreou’s account is a fairy-tale that “lacks seriousness”.

“It is not a fairy-tale,” Andreou replied.

Demetriou submitted that Andreou and Benny had set the getaway car on fire themselves – not Pentafkas – to which the witness replied “You’re lying”.

“We did not torch the car, we left it there and fled the scene,” he said.

“We wanted to get out of there as soon as possible so that we wouldn’t get caught red-handed.”

With regard to the disputed claim that a third shooter was present, Andreou said he did not see one.

“I don’t know of a third shooter,” he said.

“I drove only two shooters to the restaurant where the killings happened.”

Andreou said he had been told by Benny that one of Kalopsidiotis’ bodyguards, who would be in the toilet during the shootings, would notify Pentafkas of his movements, but did not know who the bodyguard was, and whether he was foreign or not.

Dejan was in the toilet at the time of the murders, and came out moments afterward.

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