Farmakom MB owner arrested on corruption charges

BELGRADE -- Farmakom MB owner Miroslav Bogićević was arrested on Monday, the police have confirmed.

(Starsport, file)
(Starsport, file)

The arrest of the well-known businessman from the town of Šabac comes amid the media focus on him, Goran Perčević, and Željko Žunić, over allegations of financial fraud involving loans worth millions of euros.

Perčević, a former official of the SPS party and "businessman of the year" in 2012, was arrested ten days ago. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić said the same day that Bogićević together with Perčević "and some politicians" took out loans worth several million euros, "and offered waste as collateral."

The police said in a statement on Monday that Bogićević and another suspect, M.S., are believed to have made illegal gains by incurring damages to Privredna Banka (bank). According to the police, from October 2012 until March 2013 Farmakom MB offered collateral for loans taken out by companies that would transfer the money the same day to Farmakom as the end user.

These loans were never repaid, resulting in damages to the bank in the amount of EUR 15.1 million and RSD 60 million.

The Beta news agency said earlier that Bogićević is suspected of owing more than EUR 450 million to banks, another RSD 5 billion to his company's suppliers, and RSD 1.6 billion to the Tax Administration.

The owner of Farmakom MB - a concern gathering agriculture, mining, and metal industry companies - was mentioned early this year as one of the largest debtors to the failed Univerzal Banka, and also recently after a toxic spill from one of his closed mines.

Bogićević's name was in the past was associated with the acquisition of the media company Politika. He was known to the public primarily as the owner of a battery factory in Sombor and the Šabac dairy. It was speculated in 2012 that he was "on the verge" of taking over the Partizan football club.