Belgrade weekly: Ministry reported drop in arms exports in 2018

NEWS 06.08.2020 11:27
Source: N1

According to the Serbian Trade Ministry, exports of weapons and military equipment were 16 percent lower in 2018 compared to the year 2017, Belgrade weekly NIN said quoting a report published in the Official Gazette.

The ministry report specified that the 2018 arms and military equipment exports were 87.51 million Dollars lower than a year earlier.  

NIN said that the report disclosed that some of the arms deals were routed through Cyprus, the Virgin Islands and the Marshall Islands.

According to the ministry the biggest exports were to the United Arab Emirates – 147.05 million Dollars or 32 percent of the total exports – but that the goods were re-exported to Burkina Faso and Saudi Arabia. It said that Serbia imported arms and equipment worth 13.2 million Dollars from Saudi Arabia and added that arms from Serbia were exported to the kingdom via the Virgin Islands (34.06 million Dollars) and Cyprus (24.5 million Dollars) as well as Bulgaria (33.95 million Dollars). The weekly said that Bulgaria also imported arms for itself, South Koreao, Algeria and Azerbaijan.  

“Very strangely, part of the exports from Serbia to Bulgaria were intended for Serbia as the final destination. The report does not disclose who exported and then imported to Serbia nor does it specify who operated through the tax havens,” NIN said.   The arms exported to Armenia which caused a diplomatic row with Azerbaijan were routed through the Marshal Islands.  

NIN reported earlier that one of the financiers of President Aleksandar Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), Slobodan Tesic and Internal Affairs Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic’s late father Branko exported arms through the GIM company via tax havens, making a profit at the expense of the Serbian military industry.