Former minister, Privatization Agency chief arrested

BELGRADE -- The Serbian police have arrested former Economy Minister Predrag Bubalo and former Privatization Agency Director Miodrag Đorđević.

Predrag Bubalo is being detained (Tanjug)
Predrag Bubalo is being detained (Tanjug)

Six more persons have been detained in a corruption case concerning the privatization of the Port of Belgrade (Luka Beograd) company.

The group is suspected of abuse of office that resulted in damages of at least EUR 5.7 million incurred to the state budget.

Port of Belgrade was sold in 2005 to the Luxembourg-based Worldfin, owned at the time by businessmen Miroslav Mišković and Milan Beko.

Bubalo was already questioned in January as part of the investigation.

In 2010, the Anti-Corruption Council filed a criminal complaint against 17 persons on suspicion that they robbed the state of at least EUR 21mn during what it said was the unlawful takeover procedure. Among them were both Bubalo and Beko.

In January of this year, Beko was questioned by police for six hours, related to the same privatization case.

In 2008, the Council said that the manner in which Port of Belgrade was sold indicated "large-scale corruption", that incurred damages not only to the state, but also to all taxpayers and former shareholders.

It was said that the company was sold based on its old bookkeeping value - 2.5 times lower than what was current at the time of the privatization.

The privatization took place in 2005, during the first cabinet headed by Vojislav Koštunica.