Shift in Serbia’s arms deals investigation

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Source: N1

The Prosecutor's Office for Organised Crime said on Thursday it included the police in the probe of arms deals between Serbia's state Krusik factory and some privileged individuals following the change at the top of the Interior Ministry.

The prosecutors, who have been conducting the investigation involving former Interior and current Defence Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic’s late father Branko, gathering information for a year and a half from the civilian and military security agencies BIA and VOA, confirmed to the independent investigative production Insajder the shift followed the change on the top of the Interior Ministry (MUP).

„Following reports from the Military Security Agency, VOA, and State Security and Information Agency, BIA, the Prosecutor’s Office demanded information from MUP’s department for fighting organised crime, SBPOK,“ the Office statement to Insajder said.

The shift coincides with Stefanovic’s resignation as the head of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) Belgarde branch, following a seemingly orchestrated campaign against him by the SNS boards across Serbia for his supposed role in wiretapping of the party’s head and the country’s President Aleksandar Vucic, and the failure to inform him about some security threats.

The Krusik affair caught the attention of the European Parliament which mentioned it in its latest report on Serbia.

At the end of 2019, the Prosecutor’s Office initiated a pre-investigation procedure after media allegations that certain private traders were privileged in dealing with the state factory Krušik, including a company connected to the father of the then Interior Minister.

„As some statements claimed that Branko Stefanovic, the Interior Minister’s father, took part in certain arms selling and purchasing businesses, the Prosecutor’s Office demanded information from BIA and VOA, but not from MUP,“ the Office told Insajder in 2019.

Aleksandar Obradovic, a Krusik employee, published accusations about privileged companies which traded arms with the state factory. However, he could not be treated as a whistleblower since he went public before addressing the respective institutions.

Obradovic is still under prosecution for reviling business secrets.

He told media that the GIM private company linked to Branko Stefanovic bought arms from Krusik at privileged prices.