Zoran Vukic, who has returned to Belgrade, was a communications attache at the Yugoslavia (now Serbia and Montenegro) Embassy in Ottawa between 1998 and 2002, court documents show.
The federal government claims he belonged to Yugoslavia's dreaded secret security service and was responsible for receiving and transmitting encrypted communications between Ottawa and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade.
Vukic was refused entry into Canada last month in an appeal to the Federal Court of Canada by his wife Zorica, who has a temporary visa and is living in Ottawa. She applied to bring him here.
Court heard Vukic is, or was a member, of the Sluzba za istrazavanje dokumentacije (SID), an organization that conducted espionage against Western governments and institutions during the Communist era.
It is reported that SID was responsible for the ‘elimination' of dozens of enemies of the state within Yugoslavia and internationally. Some officials estimate more than 200 Yugoslavs were either "eliminated" or kidnapped.
Judge Anne Mactavish ruled there were reasonable grounds to believe that Vukic was inadmissible to Canada for having links to SID.
Court heard all secure and sensitive information was handled by Vukic who sent the secrets to Belgrade by diplomatic bag or courier.
"The officer did not find that Vukic was himself personally involved in any acts that constituted espionage," the ruling said. "There were reasonable grounds to believe that Vukic was a member of, or worked in close collaboration with, the SID."
Ottawa lawyer Zarko Tatomirovic-Manula said Vukic hasn't been able to return to Canada to attend his daughter's wedding or birth of his granddaughter.
"The family is devastated," Tatomirovic-Manula said. "They (the government) are accusing someone (Vukic) of something that he didn't do."
He said Zorica won't be able to stay in Canada if her husband is not granted a visa.
Officers said Vukic failed to provide information about SID when questioned by Canadian authorities.
"The officer did not accept Vukic's statement that he did not know how the SID operated at the embassy in Ottawa," court was told. "The officer found it was difficult to believe Vukic would have no knowledge of the presence and activities of the SID at the embassy."
Court heard Vukic admitted that some of the messages he sent may have been destined for SID, whose agents provided political and economic intelligence about Yugoslav émigrés.
The former Yugoslav embassy in Canada has been a flash-point for dissent and violence in the past.
Croatian nationalists were accused in Nov. 1965 of bombing the Yugoslav consulate in Toronto and in Jan. 1967 both the country's embassy and consulate in Toronto were among six Yugoslav offices bombed in North America.