Shooting of media mogul shocks Cyprus

Political leaders on Cyprus expressed shock yesterday at the slaying of the island's most powerful media mogul, and sought possible motives for a killing that has stirred feelings of insecurity on the divided island.

Andy Hadjicostis, the director of the Dias publishing group, was fatally shot on Monday night outside his home in Nicosia, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of a contract killing. He was shot twice in the back and chest as he stepped out of his car, and died at the scene. Police said the gunman fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

Mr Hadjicostis, 41, was seen as a rising star in the island's majority Greek-Cypriot community, taking over a media empire founded by his father. He was a vocal critic of a United Nations draft settlement plan to reunify the island that was rejected by Greek Cypriots in a 2004 referendum. Settlement talks restarted in 2008 and are continuing.

Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. The island's President, Dimitris Christofias, took a break from renewed settlement negotiations to visit the victim's family.

"The police will exhaust all their resources to solve this horrible crime," Christofias said. "These are like scenes from an ancient tragedy."