Investigative storiesPublic officials

The case of Mlađan Dinkić: investigation without a court epilogue

21. Nov 2017.
Foto: Emil Vaš
In the course of 2006, during his addresses at the Serbian Parliament, Aleksandar Vučić would show a prison uniform with the name of Mlađan Dinkić on it; Dinkić later sued him twice, only to withdraw the charges. Having stepped out of power, Dinkić was suspected of abuse of office; however, the investigation was suspended

In the end of 2014, the Prosecution for organized crime launched an investigation against Mlađan Dinkić; however, two years later, it passed a decision on stay of the proceedings. This is when Dinkić was acquitted of the suspicion that he had abused his office in his capacity of the Governor of the National Bank.

Although his name was used in political confrontations among members of authorities and opposition, and despite being accused of “having destroyed Serbian economy”, Dinkić still managed to be a part of every government between 2000 and 2013.

Dinkić’s example is but one in the range of those cases which media and politicians announced as high corruption cases which were practically already solved, or would soon be solved and which were finally ended without any epilogue in court. Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) already covered the topic of how fight against corruption in Serbia frequently gets down to media announcements and arrests before cameras.

Arrests are accompanied by numerous criminal charges, considerably fewer indictments, and even fewer guilty verdicts; also, it is mostly “petty” cases that are prosecuted. CINS interviewees say a number of criminal charges could be explained as a potential method in political clashes.

In 2006, Aleksandar Vučić, current president of Serbia and then a member of National Parliament and representative of the Serbian Radical Party kept promising Dinkić would end up in prison. He would even bring a prison uniform with Dinkić’s name inscribed on it to the Parliament.

 

Aleksandar Vučić brought to the Parliament a prison uniform with Dinkić’s name inscribed on it

 

Foto: pressonline.rs

In 2007, Dinkić sued Vučić for violation of honour and reputation; in December 2008, the First municipal court in Belgrade decided Vučić was obliged to pay indemnity at the amount of 800,000 dinars plus the costs of litigation. The court also determined that the verdict should be published in daily press.

Vučić launched an appeal, while the case was transferred to jurisdiction of the Higher court in Belgrade in June 2010.

According to the information from the Higher court in Belgrade, Dinkić withdrew the charges in October of the same year and the case was put in archives, which is why CINS journalists could not examine the documentation.

In March 2008, Dinkić sued Vučić for libel again, but withdrew the charges in the end of 2009. CINS journalists requested a copy of documentation from this case, but were informed by the Third municipal court that the documents relating to this case could not be found.

All these developments did not prevent Vučić and Dinkić from forming the ruling coalition together with the Socialist party in 2012. Even though the reconstruction of the Government in August 2013 left Dinkić without a ministerial position, Vučić appointed him his deputy in the Governmental Committee for cooperation with United Arab Emirates.


Investigation for abuse of office


Prosecution for organized crime launched an investigation against Mlađan Dinkić two months after the report of the Criminal police Directorate of the Ministry of the interior dated 31 October 2014. The order was signed by Saša Ivanić, then deputy prosecutor for organized crime.

Dinkić was suspected for having committed the extended criminal offence of abuse of office in his capacity of the Governor of the National bank by facilitating profits exceeding the amount of 730 million dinars to the following banks: Nacionalna Štedionica, Delta banka (legal successor Banka Intesa), Komercijalna banka, Panonska banka (Banka Intesa), Meridijan banka (Kredit Agrikol Banka), Agro banka, Kredi banka, Novosadska banka (Erste banka), Vojvođanska banka, MB banka Niš, Metals banka (Development bank of Vojvodina), Kulska banka (OTP Banka), and Prva preduzetnička banka (LHB Banka NLB).

 

The Council wrote about this case back in 2004

The report of the Anti-corruption council on Nacionalna štedionica which was submitted to Serbian Government and the Republic Public Prosecutor’s office in the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005 states that Mlađan Dinkić made it possible for Nacionalna štedionica to use the equipment and premises belonging to the former Accounting and payment bureau free of charge. Beside this, it is also stated that he had assigned Nacionalna štedionica payment of a great deal of old foreign savings without a competition, and also furnished it with different other privileges.

According to the Prosecutor’s office, Dinkić let the banks use, for the period of three years and with no compensation, property controlled by the then National bank of Yugoslavia – 19,000 square meters fully equipped with IT and other equipment. The agreements with the banks implied that they would take over a certain number of employees of the Accounting and payment bureau of the National bank.

In the report of the Ministry of the interior from October 2014 it is stated that the Governor was not authorized to conclude agreements with banks without prior decisions of Federal or Republic bodies.

The data which CINS journalists had the opportunity to examine indicates that back in October 2012 Rodoljub Milović, then Head of the Crime police Directorate, signed the request for collection of information on whether the National bank of Yugoslavia had addressed the Republic Public attorney’s office (former federal Public attorney’s office) in terms of obtaining the opinion in relation to utilization of the business premises.

A week later, the Public attorney’s office replied that they did not have any information on the matter. At the same time, the Republic Property Directorate informed the Ministry of the Interior that they also had no information on the matter.

The interviewed witnesses included Dušan Lalić, former director of the Directorate for legislative and legal affairs of the National bank, Nebojša Skorić, former assistant general manager of the Directorate for general and common affairs of the National bank, Miroljub Labus, former governor of Yugoslavia to the World bank, minister for foreign economic affairs and deputy prime-minister of Serbia, Radovan Jelašić, former vice-governor and governor of the National bank, Božidar Đelić, former minister of finance, and Vesna Arsić, former vice-governor of the National bank.

Expert evaluation almost a year after the launching of the investigation

Even though the investigation was launched in the end of 2014, the order for an expert economic and financial evaluation was only issued on 29 October 2015, to be complemented several days later.

The expert evaluation was to produce a clear list of business premises and amounts of money the banks would have to pay had the decision of city and municipal bodies on determination of the amount of rental been implemented. The expert assessment was also to indicate to the amount of money which would be paid as severance pay or compensation for salaries to employees of the Accounting and payment bureau who were contractually transferred to other banks.

 

Dinkić’s functions

In the period from November 2000 to February 2003, Mlađan Dinkić performed the duty of the governor of the National bank of Serbia, while he was the minister of finance from March 2004 to October 2006. He was appointed minister of economy in May 2007, and remained at the function till the forming of the following Government in 2008, when he became deputy prime minister. In the beginning of 2011, Dinkić withdrew from the function.

At the 2012 Parliamentary elections, his party G17 plus acted as a part of a broader coalition under the name of United regions of Serbia (URS), after which the movement became a part of the ruling coalition by the Serbian Progressive party (SNS) and Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS). In the new Government, Dinkić was trusted with the sector of finance and economy starting with July 2012. By the reconstruction of the Government from August 2013, URS was expelled from the ruling coalition. After the Parliamentary elections in March 2014, when URS remained below the census, Dinkić withdrew from the position of the party leader.

In January 2016, the court expert submitted his findings to the Prosecutor’s office, while Mlađan Dinkić’s counsel filed his objections to the findings of the expert evaluation. The expert’s reply to the counsel’s objections was received in May, and this was the last activity before 15 December 2016, when the Prosecutor’s office issued the order on termination of the investigation, which was then terminated on 26 December.

The investigation indicated that the amount of unearned profit from unpaid rental of business promises of the National bank is smaller than the amount of severance pay which the bank would have to pay to the employees who would remain undistributed upon the closing of the Accounting and payment bureau.

On 29 December 2016, the Republic Public prosecutor’s office rejected the objection of the State Attorney’s office of Serbia on the order to terminate the investigation. Only two weeks later, on 10 January 2017, Dinkić was interviewed again. The Ministry of the interior informed CINS journalists that Dinkić was interviewed on the account of a case which is in pre-investigative proceedings.

In relation to this interview, sources from the Prosecution for organized crime told CINS journalists that Dinkić provided information within several cases in the capacity of a citizen. They could not impart more, because pre-investigative proceedings are underway and there is no officially established case yet, while the police are still in action.

Mlađan Dinkić refused to talk to CINS journalists.

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