Turkish suspects paid 1M euros for Serbian mob leader’s murder: Probe

New details about the killing of a Serbian mob boss emerged in the Turkish media earlier this month. Media reported that members of a Turkish gang whose leader is being held in Italy were paid around 1 million euros ($975,495) for the September 8 murder in Istanbul.

Police announced on Wednesday that 12 suspects, including members of a rival clan from Skaljari, a criminal clan led by Jovan Vukotic, have been arrested in connection with the killing. Vukotic, who entered Türkiye illegally, was shot dead by gunmen on a motorcycle while traveling with his family in a car in Istanbul’s Şişli district.

Vukotic, wanted by Serbia, was arrested in Türkiye three years ago and extradited to Serbia, where he was released after a trial. Apparently he returned to Türkiye with a fake identity card and passport.

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After scanning 1,700 hours of surveillance camera footage near the crime scene, police focused on two suspects, identified as EE and YD, the perpetrators of the murder. Both men were members of the criminal gang owned by Turkish national BB, who was arrested in Rimini, Italy, in August. BB is wanted for a range of crimes in Türkiye, including armed assault, and was previously released in Georgia where he was arrested. Türkiye is awaiting extradition from Italy.

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Police also discovered a tracking device in Vukotic’s car. Further investigation revealed that three suspects linked to a gang of Turkish national BC, who remains in custody in Montenegro, where he was arrested in June, pursued Vukotic for four months. Suspects are also accused of attempting to attack Vukotic.

The suspects were then traced back to Radoje Zivkovic and Zdravko Perunovic, leaders of Kavac, a criminal clan running the illegal drug trade in the Balkans. Around 50 people have been killed in the dispute between the two gangs since 2014.

Police conducted simultaneous raids in five provinces, including Istanbul, Izmir, Zonguldak, Antalya and Artvin, to arrest 12 suspects, including Zivkovic and Perunovic, who were transferred to an Istanbul court after their arrest. A hearing of the suspects has not yet been scheduled.

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