Serbia: 22 Arrested For Customs Fraud

Serbian police arrested 22 people belonging to an organized crime group that defrauded the state for nearly RSD 1 billion (US$ 10,572,847.27) through customs fraud, Tanjug news reports.

The police arrested 14 directors and owners of private companies, as well as eight employees of the Serbian Customs Administration. The alleged leader of the group Zarko Radonjic is the owner of an import-export and shipping company “Moravex” in Subotica, northern Serbia. Radonjic was among the 22 arrested.

According to the chief of Serbian Police Milorad Veljovic, the suspects imported merchandise from European Union (EU) and Eurasian countries, declaring a value lower than the actual since 2009. In agreement with corrupt customs agents, the importers created falsified import documentation and paid lower taxes, thus damaging the state budget. The customs agents were charged with abuse of power.

The suspects were arrested in five cities cross Serbia, including the Serbian capital of Belgrade. “Early this morning, 22 people were arrested in several Serbian cities, and the operation continues,” Veljovic told Tanjug on Thursday.

The operation aimed at uncovering financial crime is lead by the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and the Counter-Organized Crime Service (SBPOK). The police raided 45 locations across Serbia.