CEO of Cyprus media group murdered - police

Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:26am IST

(Adds detail)

NICOSIA Jan 11 (Reuters) - Andis Hadjicostis, the chief executive of one of Cyprus's largest media groups, was murdered outside his home in Nicosia on Monday evening, police said.

"Two shots were heard and the victim was found dead outside his home" in a suburb of the capital, police spokesman Michalis Katsounodos said. "It is believed there were two assailants."

The area outside Hadjicostis's home was cordoned off and police were conducting enquiries, Katsounodos said.

Reports suggested the killers lay in wait for Hadjicostis and shot him as he got out of his vehicle, within close distance of the U.S. embassy in Nicosia.

After firing two shots which hit him in his chest and back, they fled the scene on a high-powered motorcycle.

Hadjicostis, 42, was CEO of the Dias Media Group, which ran Sigma, a highly successful private television station, a newspaper, a radio station and a host of magazines. The group was founded by his father Costis Hadjicostis, the present Dias chairman.

Cypriot parliamentary speaker Marios Garoyan condemned the killing.

"He was a great person, a friend, a person who never harmed anyone...We will not let lawlessness, crime or murders prevail. Our democracy is strong enough to withstand all of this," Garoyan said.

Sigma interrupted its normal programming and was playing classical music for most of the evening. The station is known for its investigative reporting.

Criminal activity targeting media figures in Cyprus is extremely rare. Police did not say what the motive for the killing may have been but said the investigation was still at an early stage.

(Writing by Michele Kambas, editing by Mark Trevelyan)

((michele.kambas@thomsonreuters.com; 357 22469607; Reuters messaging michele.kambas.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CYPRUS MURDER/MEDIA

(C) Reuters 2010. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution ofReuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expresslyprohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuterssphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group ofcompanies around the world.nLDE60A2IQ