A prosecution witness yesterday apologised to the family of slain media owner Andis Hadjicostis for not warning police of the plan to kill him, as the defence continued its efforts to damage his credibility.
Defence attorney Michalakis Kyprianou continued his cross examination of 33-year-old Giorgos Zavrandonas, an underworld figure currently doing a 12-year prison term at a secure undisclosed location in connection with the attempted murder of Andreas Gregoriou, one of the defendant’s in the Hadjicostis case, and conspiracy to kill a group of people involved in online gambling.
Zavrandonas, who has been placed in a witness protection programme, has previously implicated Gregoriou, and co-defendants television presenter Elena Skordelli, 42 and her brother Tasos Krasopoulis, 37, in Hadjicostis’ murder.
He claims it was Gregoriou who told him about plans to murder the Sigma boss, around two months before the January 11, 2010 killing. He said Gregoriou had offered him 50,000 euro to take part but he refused.
Zavrandonas claims to have been feigning interest in the Hadjicostis affair in order to get close to Gregoriou and track his movements to keep another man, Alexis Mavromichalis, informed about his whereabouts.
On Wednesday Kyprianou, who defends Skordelli, put it to Zavrandonas that he was never approached by Gregoriou to take part in the murder and he made everything up to help the police prove the scenario they created at a moment when their reputation had collapsed.
“I and the defendants are the only ones who know the truth and the only ones listening to fairy tales for two weeks now is me,” Zavrandonas said.
To the suggestion that Hadjicostis was killed over gambling, Zavrandonas suggested to Kyprianou that he should respect the late Sigma boss’ memory.
The defence attorney said Zavrandonas was lying, offering police a lifeline in exchange for leniency.
“On one hand you did not want to participate in the murder and on the other hand you gave advice on the weapon that was going to be used,” Kyprianou said.
The witness claimed he did this so as not to raise suspicion and scare Gregoriou off.
Asked why he did not warn of the imminent murder, Zavrandonas said he recognised this was a big mistake.
“The only thing I can do is apologise to Andis’ family and help find those who are guilty,” Zavrandonas said.
Kyprianou asked the witness if the fact that he had not been charged for failing to warn the authorities was part of his deal with the state.
Zavrandonas wondered what deal Kyprianou was talking about and repeated that he testified the truth about all the cases he had been linked to.
Gregoriou, Skordelli, Krasopoulis and a fourth man, Gregoris Xenofontos, 29, who is believed to be the trigger man, are facing charges of premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Source: Cyprus Mail