News 03 Aug 16

Yugoslav Spy Chiefs Jailed for Life

Former Yugoslav State Security Service officials Josip Perkovic and Zdravko Mustac have been sentenced to life in prison for abetting the murder of a Croatian émigré in Germany in 1983.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Josip Perkovic (left) and Zdravko Mustac at their trial in Munich. Photo: Beta.

The higher court in Munich on Wednesday sentenced former Yugoslav State Security Service, SDS officials Josip Perkovic and Zdravko Mustac to life imprisonment for abetting the murder of émigré Stjepan Djurekovic.

“In late 1982 or early 1983 Zdravko Mustac authorised Perkovic to begin preparations for the assassination of Stjepan Djurekovic,” presiding judge Manfred Dauster told the court.

Mustac at the time was head of the Croatian branch of the SDS and Perkovic was chief of its department responsible for émigrés.

They are alleged to have staged the killing to silence Djurekovic because he knew about the alleged criminal activities of Vanja Spiljak - the son of Mika Spiljak, a member of the Yugoslav presidency - at the state-owned energy company INA.

Djurekovic worked for INA as its marketing director before he fled to Germany in 1982.

He was killed in a garage in Wolfsrathausen near Munich, where he printed anti-Yugoslav propaganda material.

“The motive for the removal of Djurekovic was his hostile actions [against Yugoslavia] and involvement in a fraud at [Croatian energy company] INA,” the judge said.

“It was believed that the elimination of Djurekovic would eliminate the problem with the INA, which had become a huge burden for the republican leadership due to the investigation of a fraud amounting to several million dollars,” he added.

Both Mustac, 74, and Perkovic, 71, had denied the charges, and the defence will appeal against the verdict.

Perkovic’s lawyer Anto Nobilo said on Tuesday that he expected a conviction because “it is in Germany’s interest” in order to justify the life sentence given to SDS informant Krunoslav Prates in 2008 for his involvement in Djurekovic’s murder.

Prates called Djurekovic to a meeting in the garage on the day he was murdered. The killers were waiting for him inside the garage after entering with a key that Prates gave them.

As the head of the SDS section dealing with émigrés, Perkovic was Prates’s handler, the judge said.

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