Serbia: Charges Filed Against Miroslav Miskovic
The Special Court in Belgrade filed an indictment against Miroslav Miskovic, the wealthy Serbian tycoon, on May 9th, Blic.rs reported. Miskovic was arrested along with 10 others on December 12, 2012. The group is suspected of pocketing more than $39 million during Serbia’s privatization of highway companies in 2005.
The charges against Miskovic and his alleged accomplices include abuse of power and tax evasion. Each charge carries a prison sentence of 10 years. Miskovic’s son, Marko, and Nebens Group owner Milo Đurašković are also among the accused.
The Special Court extended the detention of Miskovic and Đurašković on May 10, as both were seen as serious flight risks. They will be held until at least June 9th, B92 reported. Miskovic’s son has been released pending the trial, but remains under house arrest. The other individuals alleged to have played a role in the theft have been released on bail.
Miskovic, believed to be at or near the top of the list of richest men of Serbia, has thrived under a number of different governments using his vast wealth to heavily fund political parties. He got his start under Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s war time leader who died before a verdict in his war crimes trial. Miskovic made his money in privatization, and was often accused by media of using Milosevic’s stolen millions to get started.
OCCRP has reported on Miskovic before: in a multi-part investigation, The Miskovic Millions, OCCRP detailed the extent of Miskovic’s financial reach. The investigation also revealed Miskovic’s use of offshore companies to evade Serbian regulations and form a silent majority in a Serbian bank. A number of offshore companies with ties to Miskovic bought up small percentages of Serbia’s Universal Bank, which allowed Miskovic to own a large portion of the bank through multiple companies. Using multiple companies to avoid ownership disclosure laws and to avoid an official approval process, is against Serbian law. Miskovic has since been forced to divest himself from the bank.