Informant suspected in Chechen murder: Vienna prosecutors

6th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

A former informant for Vienna counter-terrorism officers is being investigated as a suspect in the 2009 murder of Chechen dissident Umar Israilov, prosecutors announced Monday.

Authorities have been investigating the man, named only as Kosum Y., since January 2009 on suspicion of complicity to murder and participation in a criminal group, Vienna prosecutors spokesman Thomas Vecsey said.

The announcement confirmed a report by the German weekly Spiegel over the weekend.

A former contact for the Vienna security and counter-terrorism bureau (LVT), Kosum Y., 38, owned a garage near Wiener Neustadt, south of Vienna, that apparently served as a meeting point for a group of Chechens planning Israilov's abduction in January 2009, according to the prosecutors.

Israilov, 27, a former member of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's security forces who defected to Austria, was gunned down by two men near his Vienna flat on January 13, 2009, in an apparent kidnapping-gone-wrong.

One of the shooters, Turpal Y., was Kosum Y.'s brother.

Kosum Y. was also in frequent contact with a certain Otto K., 42, seen as the mastermind behind the operation, in the days before Israilov was killed.

"Whether he knew of the plot and in which way he was involved still needs to be clarified," Vecsey noted.

Ten days after Israilov was killed, Kosum Y. fled abroad before returning to Austria again in November and turning himself in to police.

He was briefly interrogated but not detained, according to the prosecutors.

Turpal Y. and two other men, currently held in pre-trial custody in Austria, could soon be indicted on charges of complicity to murder, creation of a criminal group and attempted delivery of an individual to a foreign power.

But the other shooter is still on the run.

Austrian prosecutors are also deciding whether to press charges against Kadyrov, who the LVT suspects of being behind the murder.

© 2010 AFP

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