Cyprus Mail

Ayia Napa businessman denies role in gangland shootings

The scene of the murders in Ayia Napa in 2016

By George Psyllides

One of the defendants in a multiple gangland killing in Ayia Napa last summer told the court on Tuesday he had had nothing to do with the incident and had no differences with the prime target of the hit, businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis.

Ayia Napa resident Panayiotis Pentafkas opted to make a statement from the dock on Tuesday, after the court last week found he and Serbian national Dejan Loy had a case to answer.

The two face charges in relation with the murders of Kalopsidiotis and police officer Elias Hadjiefthymiou, 46, and his wife Skevi, 39.

The three were gunned down while having dinner at the Stone Garden restaurant on the evening of June 23. One of the shooters, Albanian Yiani Vogli, was also killed.

A second Albanian national, Aleks Burreli, who took part in the shooting, is still at large.

Pentafkas was allegedly the individual who showed the gunmen an escape route that avoided security cameras.

He told the court that his relations with Kalopsidiotis were good.

“We had no difference, in fact, a few years ago he proposed to me to cooperate. Neither me nor Phanos meddled in each other’s business,” he said from the dock.

Making a statement from the dock is one of three options granted to a defendant. The other two are saying nothing and taking the stand to testify and undergoing cross examination. Each carries its own weight when judges assess the case.

Pentafkas said he was at his nightclub when he heard that Kalopsidiotis had been killed. He was later summoned by police to give a statement. While there, he had told officers to take the footage from his security cameras to confirm his whereabouts, he told the court.

“I never met with the other defendants and the two Albanians, before or after the murder,” Pentafkas said. “I had nothing to do with them.”

He went on to say he knew nothing about the case, nor was he the one who showed the surviving attacker the way to leave the area without being recorded by security cameras.

“This is the truth and as I said some people want to get me in trouble.”

The Serbian national worked as Kalopsidiotis’ bodyguard at the time. He is accused of collaborating with the shooters by confirming that the victim was at the restaurant shortly before they burst in guns blazing. Loy was in the toilet during the shooting.

Initially, authorities arrested and charged six defendants, four of whom have since changed their pleas to guilty. Two of them got life in prison.

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