Skordeli pleads not guilty to Cyprus TV boss murder

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A Cypriot TV host on trial for plotting the murder of her boss pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to the killing which has gripped the east Mediterranean island.

Elena Skordelli, 42, and her brother Tassos Krasopoulis, 37, are charged with masterminding the killing of Andis Hadjicostis, who was the CEO of the Dias Group, one of the largest media organisations in Cyprus.

Prosecutors say Skordelli, a former TV anchor on Dias's Sigma TV channel, was driven by revenge because she was sacked.

Standing in a cramped courtroom, the siblings pleaded not guilty to each charge of premeditated murder, conspiracy, and illegal possession of firearms.

Their trial starts on June 7. Murder charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment in Cyprus.

Hadjicostis, 42, was gunned down outside his home in the capital Nicosia on Jan. 11. The gunman is still at large and is believed to be abroad.

The prosecutors' main witness had been initially arrested for riding the getaway motorcycle, and who is not facing charges in a deal to talk.

In addition to being an ex Sigma employee, Skordelli's family owns about 20 percent of shares in the station.

Her rise from a beauty therapist to a radio show host, journalist and main anchor on news broadcasts has been widely documented in the Cypriot press. Skordelli had presented news on Sigma but later left to host a lifestyle chat show on a smaller television station.