Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Stavros Saristavros, son of late Greek Australian businessman Christos Saristavrou, has confirmed the family is offering a $1 million reward to anyone who helps catch the man responsible for his father’s death.
“We want to close this chapter in our lives,” says Stavros, explaining the monetary incentive is nothing but their latest move in a long desperate quest for justice.
Best known as the founder of Black Swan dips, Christos Saristavros was 44 when he was fatally shot during a robbery at Melbourne’s Box Hill in October, 2000.
But over 18 years after the tragic incident, a police investigation remains open with authorities lacking strong leads to find the culprit.
The only available evidence so far has been the CCTV footage from a 7-Eleven close to the crime scene earlier that night of a man who intended to rob the store.
Amidst what seems to have been a bungled robbery, the hooded suspect approached the victim’s car – with his wife Tammy a passenger – making demands.
Following a fight between the two men, Mr Saristavros was shot in the chest and pulled together his last bit of strength running after the assailant for a few meters, but suffered a fatal shot in the head the moment he managed to grab him.
With the case missing evident motives or further witnesses, the deceased’s wife resorted to hypnotherapy hoping to recover memories of any clues that could assist detectives.
In a message directed to potential informants through the Sunday Herald Sun, Mr Saristavros’ youngest son Stavros reiterated the purpose of the $1 million reward, which is in addition to the existing $100,000 being offered by Victoria Police.
“Find dad’s killer and the money is yours,” he said.
“The reward is a great incentive for justice. We are not running a contest giveaway or a prize – it’s for justice.”
According to the paper’s report, police used a linguist in a bid to establish the gunman’s accent, believed to likely be of South East Asian origin.
Looking back, Mr Saristavros recalls his father’s murder coming as a shock to the community.
“This is not an underworld killing; he was an ordinary family man,” he said.
Recognised as a business pioneer of humble beginnings, Christos Saristavros turned his grandma’s recipes for Greek dips into one of Australia’s most successful food brands.
On the night of his murder he was going home after attending a charity event for disadvantaged Cypriot children.
Along with wife Tammy, they left the venue around 10.00 pm before the fundraiser had finished, as the victim reportedly wanted to get up early the next day for work.
“My father was highly respected and it’s not just because he was my father that I’m saying that.
“Could he have enemies? You can’t rule that out, but you struggle to think like that.”