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Cyprus

Police deny they sidestepped questioning underworld kingpin

The Ayia Napa restaurant where Kalopsidiotis was gunned down

The defence in a trial relating to the gangland killing of four people in Ayia Napa last summer suggested on Tuesday that police deliberately failed to question a suspected Nicosia underworld kingpin who subsequently ended up dead.

Defence attorney Nicos Demetriou grilled CID sergeant Constantinos Xanthou, a member of the team that investigated the June 23 shooting, in which businessman and suspected underworld figure Phanos Kalopsidiotis, policeman Elias Hadjiefthimiou and wife Skevi, as well as Yani Vogli, one of the two Albanian shooters, were killed.
The second shooter, Aleks Burelli, is still at large.

In an earlier hearing, one of the suspects in the case, who had admitted guilt and was sentenced to life in jail, told the court that one of the other suspects had told him to “take the Albanian to Andros so that he could shoot him.”

Asked about that, Xanthou said the suspect, Charalambos Andreou, was not clear.

“He didn’t tell us Andros Rodotheou; he said Andros and we did not have a clear testimony to issue an arrest warrant to question (Rodotheou).

Rodotheou, suspected of being the Nicosia underworld kingpin, was shot dead on April 12 while at a friend’s house at the village of Gerasa, Limassol.

Xanthou said when they pressed Andreou to say if he meant Rodotheou, he said “that’s what I understood.”

“The testimony was such that there was no question of issuing a warrant to arrest Rodotheou,” Xanthou said.

The defence lawyer put it to Xanthou that a superior in the investigating team had said “don’t even think of creating trouble by arresting Andreas Rodotheou because there will be other consequences too.”

Xanthou denied the statement.

“I am sorry for the perception you have of the police. When we act in line with the law we are not afraid of anyone,” the police sergeant said.

He denied there was any expediency behind the police’s failure to arrest Rodotheou.

But the defence insisted, saying that when defendant Marios Christodoulou told police he wanted to cooperate, telling them

“Andreas Rodotheou was murdered in a professional manner by the same circles who didn’t want his arrest.”

Xanthou said he had asked Christodoulou about the Rodotheou hit but he claimed he did not know anything.

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

Benny and Gregoriou recently pleaded guilty, leaving Pentafkas and Dejan as sole defendants.

Benny got life while Gregoriou got 18 months.

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