A blonde TV host goes on trial in Cyprus on Monday accused of the mafia-style murder of media mogul Andis Hadjicostis in a case that has gripped the Mediterranean island nation.
Elena Skordelli (photo), a 42-year-old mother of two, her brother Tassos Krasopoulis, 37, and Andreas Gregoriou, a 33-year-old meat supplier, deny arranging the contract killing of the millionaire.
Prosecutors say the chat-show presenter hatched the plot to kill her ex-boss — the scion of an influential family — in an alleged conspiracy to take control of his media empire.
“This trial is of great significance because it’s the first time underworld elements were seemingly paid a specific amount to carry out a criminal act against a public figure,” criminologist Andreas Kapardis told AFP.
“It has shocked society because it was against a public media figure. Such killings are usually carried out between criminal gangs or people settling scores. This hasn’t happened before,” he added.
Kapardis said the fact that a glamorous media personality like Skordelli is involved in the trial has helped create keen public interest.
The case has both scandalised and fascinated Cypriots in equal measure.
Media bosses wield great influence on the island where there is also a high regard for journalists in general and where attacks on public figures are rare.
Skordelli and her brother are accused of ordering the contract killing of Hadjicostis, who was gunned down outside his home near the heavily guarded US embassy.