A hitman is reportedly in custody in Cyprus following a failed assassination attempt against an Israeli-Cypriot billionaire Teddy Sagi, who fled the country following a tip-off from local authorities, Cypriot media reported.

According to the Alphanews website, the would-be assassin – a 38-year-old Azerbaijani citizen who holds a Russian passport – had targeted Sagi, a former software entrepreneur who accumulated his wealth from online gambling and is now invested heavily in international real estate, especially in the United Kingdom. According to Forbes, he is worth $5.6 billion.

Initial reports stated that authorities believed that Sagi had been targeted as part of a wider Iranian operation against Israelis on Cyprus, but subsequent reporting claimed that Cypriot authorities now believe that the planned assassination was linked to a business dispute.

According to Israeli Walla website, Cypriot security agencies warned Sagi to be careful, linking the threat to his life to former partners in the online gambling industry. The report stated that Sagi, who was arrested 25 years ago for bribery and fraud, had tried in recent months to reach an agreement with the partners, but was unsuccessful.

In a statement, the Sagi Group said: “This is a foiled Iranian terrorist incident. The target for the assassination is not Teddy Sagi but Israelis in Cyprus. Unfortunately, it is so easy to publish incorrect information and damage a person’s name.”

Channel 12 reported that the assassin was apparently part of a squad that planned to hit Sagi, and entered through Turkish Cyprus and reached Greek Cyprus. While Sagi was having a party for one of his daughters, a suspicious person was observed in his area of residence, and his Israeli security guards updated the local police.

A source close to the group of companies owned by Teddy Sagi confirmed that the target of the attack was a building owned by a company controlled by Sagi near the border between Greek and Turkish Cyprus.

According to some Cypriot reports, the unnamed assassin may have been a member of the Russian mafia. He was arrested with a gun and silencer in his vehicle.

Source » haaretz