Eight Remanded On Conspiracy to Murder
Eight men, including a police officer, have been remanded by Nicosia District Court for eight days on allegations of conspiracy to murder.
The suspects are 33-year-old Christodoulou Zavrantonas, 51 year-old Spyros Stylianou, 37-year-old Christodoulou Andrikis, 30-year-old police officer Aristos Stylianou, 54-year-old Demetris Xenophontos, 24-year-old Nikos Kyriakou and two Bulgarians aged 27 and 39.
All eight men deny the allegations which are based on a crime squad investigation into a tip-off that five people were targeted by the group for murder.
The arrest operation was carried out in Nicosia, Larnaca and the Famagusta area, said police. The motive for the planned murders was financial differences with the targeted victims, who noticed suspicious activities in the days leading up to the arrests and informed police. The murders were to take place over the next few days, the court heard.
The police officer involved works for the Nicosia crime squad, and investigators said that suspicion had also fallen on his fiance who works with him. The officer is accused of finding out details about the targets and giving the information to the other conspirators. He gave them telephone numbers, addresses and car registration number which he found in police databases.
The arrests come amid a rise in organised crime and contract murders or attempted murders, the most high-profile of which was the January 11th killing of DIAS media group CEO Andy Hadjicostis.