Government tightens noose on Serbian tycoon

By bne IntelliNews November 30, 2012

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The anti-corruption crusade by Serbian Deputy PM and Defence Minister Aleksandar Vucic closed in further on its top target on Thursday, November 29 as the country's richest man, Miroslav Miskovic, said he will appear for police questioning over his business activities.

Miskovic's retail, agribusiness and property holding Delta said in a statement that: "A long and exhaustive probe into Delta Holding business has been undertaken, during which the company has answered all inquiries... Miroslav Miskovic will respond to the summons in line with his civic duty and appear for questioning [on Monday]."

Vucic's Serbian Progressive Party, the largest in the three-party coalition, has been gunning for Miskovic since it came to power in the summer and launched its anti-corruption drive that has already snared some notable names. The discovery of the tapping of the phones of Tomislav Nikolic, Serbia's president, and Vucic has added to the sense of drama, with accusing fingers pointed at the Interior Ministry, headed by Prime Minister Ivica Dacic of the Socialist Party. Earlier this month, the deputy prime minister vowed to investigate corruption allegations against Miskovic's Delta affiliates.

In an address to parliament on November 29, Vucic said the government was drawing up a law to establish the origins of the wealth of Serbia's richest citizens, as part of its anti-corruption drive. "The first drafts of the strategy are completed and the draft law of the origins of property should be debated by end January or in early February at the latest," he said, Reuters reported.

Serbian authorities are investigating 24 privatisation deals completed after former strongman Slobodan Milosevic was ousted in 2000, Vucic said, when the previous Democratic Party government of Boris Tadic was in power.

The anti-graft drive by the Progressives will, predict many, ultimately end up at the door of the Socialists, meaning Serbia could find itself back at the polls just months after electing the Progressives as the largest party in parliament and giving them the presidency.

According to analysts, the Progressives feel that they underperformed at the last elections (being forced into a coalition with the Socialists) and with their popularity running high more than 100 days in power, they are feeling increasingly emboldened to further consolidate their hold on power while undermining the Socialists in the public eye.

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