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Hitman 'lied' about gambling baron's role

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Hitman 'lied' about gambling baron's role
12:31 CEST+02:00
Prosecutors' hopes of convicting gambling baron Rade Kotur suffered a setback on Tuesday after one of their star witnesses, convicted killer Nenad Misovic, recanted testimony about being hired to take out one of Kotur's rivals.

The 35-year-old Misovic is already serving a lifetime sentence for his role in the murder of Ratko Djokic in May 2003. Djokic's gaming operation was thought to be a rival to that run by Kotur.

During proceedings leading up to his conviction, Misovic refused to offer more details about the killing.

But after the conviction was affirmed he then began talking to police, according to the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper.

From 2006 through May 2008, Misovic told police in explicit detail how Kotur had hired him, along with others, to carry out attacks against Djokic in Skärholmen in 2003, and against another man in Fisksätra in 2002.

But in Gothenburg on Tuesday, Misovic told the court that everything he said was a lie.

“We had an agreement to frame Rade Kotur and squeeze money from him,” the paper reports Misovic as saying.

Prosecutor Krister Petersson read aloud from Misovic's previous statements and peppered the hitman with pointed questions.

“Is it also a lie, that which has been confirmed by the victim, witnesses, and telephone records?” asked Petersson.

“Yes,” replied Misovic.

“Is it a coincidence that the hitman got money from, lived with, and went out with people tied to Rade Kotur, or his company?”

“Yes.”

“It is a lie when he said during questioning that he was afraid for Rade Kotur and that only a fool, only someone with no brains wouldn't be afraid?”

“Yes.”

Misovic also gave varying explanations as to why he had changed his story and remained evasive during much of Petersson's questioning.

According to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, even Misovic's defence attorney, Ola Salomonsson, was forced to take a moment to state that his client's claim that the lies were part of a plot to frame Kotur wasn't very believable.

“Unfortunately, he's shooting himself in the foot,” Salomonsson said of his client.

According to DN, part of Misovic's decision to change his story may be related to his frustration at not receiving leniency from the courts and police for his cooperation.

Rather than having his life sentence reduced for helping police gather evidence against Kotur, Misovic was instead slapped with additional charges for his involvement with the attempted murder at Fisksätra.

But according to Petersson, Misovic's testimony implicating Kotur doesn't qualify him for preferential treatment because he only decided to cooperate after being sentenced to life in prison.

Petersson also told DN that he didn't think Misovic's reversal would have a significant effect on the court's ruling.

In addition to Misovic changing his story, Petersson faces another challenge in convincing the 44-year-old victim who survived the Fisksätra assassination attempt to testify.

Kotur is on trial with instigating murder and attempted murder, and will also soon face charges for financial crimes related to his electronic gaming machine business.

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