Tycoon's arrest encourages Serbian public

22/12/2012

Bloggers are relieved that the government is finally tackling shady privatisations, which they perceive as the root of organised crime.

By Biljana Pekusic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade -- 22/12/12

photo

Miroslav Miskovic is the owner of Delta Holding, a corporate conglomerate with 7,200 employees. [Nikola Barbutov/SETimes]

The arrest of Serbian tycoon Miroslav Miskovic has initiated a debate on the need to re-examine the questionable privatisation of enterprises and shady dealings.

Organised crime prosecutor Miljko Radisavljevic announced that Miskovic, his son Marko and business partner Milo Djuraskovic were arrested under the suspicion of obtaining 30 million euros from the privatisation of road maintenance firm Nish between 2005 and 2010.

"It is exceptionally important that … crime is being fought, because it is a minute to 12 for us to get away from the claws of corruption and organised crime," Ivana summed up the general mood of approval.

Miskovic, owner of the Delta Holding business empire, is the wealthiest person in Serbia and among the richest in Europe. The Polish magazine Vprost estimated his wealth to be more than 1.5 billion euros.

Some bloggers said it is particularly important for the new government to undo the nexus of tycoons and high-government officials who serve as their enablers. Most support Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who is the driving force behind the anti-crime campaign.

"Only a few actions remain to undo the web the Democratic Party made in the past 10 years. Go ahead Vucic, you have the support of the people," Sova said.

Kamatica said Miskovic began accumulating capital during the rule of Slobodan Milosevic, but accumulated much of his wealth during former Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's rule.

"Miskovic's approach is to establish a monopoly for whichever foreign import he likes. From Nike, which is 30 to 50 percent more expensive [here] than in other countries, to BMW and Honda, to Zara," Galaktus said.

Either way, it's a shame for a state to have tolerated a situation like this, especially those who were in charge of privatisation, mile said. "Will some of the well-paid state bureaucrats be charged for not doing their job then?"

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Dragan Bujosevic said this is not the first time the Serbian authorities have initiated proceedings against a tycoon. "A similar [thing] happened at the end of 2005 to Bogoljub Karic, who was considered the richest man in Serbia then."

Bujosevic said the two tycoons are similar in that they both financially helped the political parties in power. "They differ in that Karic escaped from Serbia to avoid being arrested."

But not all are applauding the government move.

"Despite the political will to fight corruption, the impression is the time for the arrest was carefully chosen. Miskovic is not the only problem, he is golden compared to what is out there. Serbia has many Miskovices ... except from time to time the government takes one out of the hat for the people's sake. It is all politics," lalalala said

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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