OCTOBER 23 2008 22:55h
Apart from acquaintances from the crime scene, Pukanic cherished close relations with the state top.
Journalism guru Ivo Pukanic will be remembered after many things. He was born on January 21, 1961 and began his journalistic career at the age of 18. He studies his craft at the Vjesnik paper, transferring to the Globus weekly. At the end of 1995, he left EPH with a group of reporters and founded Nacional. His career was marked with numerous awards, from journalist of the year to the interview of the year (with Croatian general Ante Gotovina in 2003). The Croatian Journalists` Association has awarded his research. He was co-owner of the NCL Media Group, which owns a line of successful newspapers.
Still, he will be mostly remembered after many controversies.
Lately, he frequently filled newspaper pages with the forced hospitalisation of his wife Mirjana. Pukanic published his wife`s medical records, calling her a mental patient. Afterwards, an attempted assassination was carried out on his life in downtown Zagreb, and he managed to survive by a close shave, some 20 cm.
It was written at the time that Pukanic staged the assassination himself, but the co-owner of the NCL group dismissed these rumours, in his own style, calling them vile and evil. Prior to this attempted assassination, Pukanic had also survived a knife attack in downtown Zagreb.
As his wife Mirjana was released from the Psychiatric hospital, Ivo Pukanic revealed he owned a gun, as the interior minister at the time, Sime Lucin, gave him a permit for it in 2000.
When Pukanic started the Nacional weekly, the rumour was he lacked funds and was finances by his mother-in-law, banker Neven Barac and Hrvoje Petrac.
Shocking secret letters between Petrac and Pukanic
The fact that the friendship between Pukanic and Hrvoje Petrac was great, was confirmed at the end of last year when coded letters leaked out, correspondence between Pukanic and the most powerful Lepoglava prisoner Hrvoje Petrac. The letters revealed shocking connections between the underground, parts of mafia and the Croatian state top.
Pukanic cherished close relations with Croatian general Vladimir Zagorec, but their friendship snapped easily. After an investigation was opened against Zagorec, Petrac announced in his letters that prisoners would make the general`s life a living hell. At the same time, Pukanic was waging a war against Zagorec through his Nacional paper. Zagorec`s Vienna attorney Gabriel Lansky said at the time that Hrvoje Petrac co-owned Nacional.
Close relations with Mesic and Bajic
Apart acquaintances with persons that connected politics and the criminal scene, Pukanic was aided in his rise by close relations with American Ambassador William Montgomery, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, head State Attorney Mladen Bajic and many more, from the intelligence underground to the social elite.
Love affair with Nacional editor
The Croatian Journalists` Association dismembered Pukanic after he published his wife`s medical records. Just like his business life, his privacy was no less controversial. The rumour was for a long time that he was having an affair with the editor of the Nacional weekly Sina Karli.
Sina Karli`s former husband Dubravko Smigmator accused Pukanic of stealing his wife and trying to run him over with a Mercedes.
Pukanic was criticised for media racqueteering as well. In court, he had a case against the president of the Croatian Football Association Vlatko Markovic for libel; Josip Dikan Radeljak; and Ivic Pasalic sued him over threats.
Pukanic caused a stir even outside Croatia with his work. He pointed his finger at Cana Subotic over smuggling cigarettes to Serbia and Montenegro, while he called former Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic the headman of the tobacco mafia.