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Sentencing for those involved in Leonides killing on Thursday

Officers at the scene of the crime in 2018

The three men arrested in connection with the murder of Ernest Leonides, who was suspected of running a crime ring, are to be sentenced on Thursday.

One of the defendants had said during a previous hearing that he was the person who had shot Leonides four times. He admitted to the crime after the charge was changed from premeditated murder to manslaughter.

The 47-year-old Leonides, who was gunned down in Limassol in 2018, had been the local coordinator of a crime ring, which eliminated him after a disagreement, a court heard two years ago. Leonides a Greek national of Georgian extraction, was at a restaurant in Germasogia, Limassol at the time when three masked individuals walked into the tavern while he was having lunch with friends.

Police said at the time he had suffered four gunshot wounds – one to the head and three to his body. It is believed the murder was ordered by a Russian criminal organisation with which Leonides had differences.

The two defendants other than the shooter, have also pleaded guilty to charges connected to the killing.

The three Georgians were identified in the north, together with a fourth person, charges against whom were later dismissed, and were handed over to the authorities in the Republic as part of a criminal persons swap.

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