Decision to give drug lord citizenship "to be clarified"

Belgrade, Podgorica -- A state secretary with the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP) says he will "insist on uncovering who gave Darko Šarić Serbian citizenship, and why".

Vladimir Božović (R) (Beta, file)
Vladimir Božović (R) (Beta, file)

The fugitive Montenegrin, who was given a Serbian passport in the mid-2000s, is suspected of running a major drug smuggling ring.

Now Vladimir Božović says that he will seek clarifications on "who made it possible for Šarić to buy companies and land in Serbia, and who went on vacations with him".

"As a state secretary from the ranks of the Serb Progressive Party (SNS) in charge of internal affairs at the Interior Ministry, I will insist on determining who gave Šarić Serbian citizenship and why, who made it possible for him to buy private companies, which provincial official made it possible for him to buy land in Vojvodina and to rob Metals Bank," Božović told the Belgrade tabloid Blic.

He stressed the political will to arrest Darko Šarić was there and it was out of the question that anyone inside the government was trying to protect him.

Božović noted that Aleksandar Vučić statement that he expected "Darko Šarić to face justice in 2013" had the support of Prime Minister Ivica Dačić, the whole cabinet, and the Interior Ministry.

"A government with someone within its ranks who would protect a narco-boss would deserve not only to collapse, but to be arrested, that's a grave crime. I'm an optimist regardless of all the criminal resources that Šarić has at his disposal, and I have faith in Vučić, who has shown before that he lives up to his word. It's time for the state to strike back," this official was quoted as saying.

"Police closing in"

Commenting on the same issue on Monday, PM and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said that the police were closing in Darko Šarić, and that the next step would be his arrest.

In an interview he gave to Podgorica-based Atlas television, Dačić said he did not discuss the Šarić case in his informal meetings with Montenegrin officials two days ago.

Asked whether Serbia would ask the Montenegrin judiciary to investigate Delta Holding owner Miroslav Mišković's property in that country, Dačić said the Serbian prosecutor's office would decide where to take the investigation.

"If the proceedings are opened in Serbia, they will definitely apply to other countries as well," he said.

Dačić said he was never in favor of statements without concrete evidence, such as the one made by some Serbian officials that Montenegro was a safe haven for criminals.