Dačić testifies in Galenika corruption case

BRUSSELS -- Foreign Minister and SPS party leader Ivica Dačić has confirmed that he was question as a witness on the Galenika corruption case.

The Special Court in Belgrade (Tanjug, file)
The Special Court in Belgrade (Tanjug, file)

Chairman of the Executive Board of the SPS Branko Ružić earlier in the day confirmed for Tanjug that he was also questioned by the court as a defense witness in the case concerning the Serbian pharmaceutical company.

Dačić said that he testified before the Special Court and that, to his knowledge, the case concerned favoritism shown toward foreign companies at the expense of Galenika.

"From me they sought information on how the government reacted when the payment crisis happened, and I was asked what the government's policy was when it comes to favoring certain companies in the market. I spoke only about the government policy in that period, not about my responsibility," Dačić said on Friday during his regular monthly press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He expressed his willingness to, if necessary, again appear before the court, stating that according to his knowledge the case concerned favoritism shown toward the German company Stada to the detriment of Galenika. Dačić said he was "told in the government said that the factory cannot sell drugs directly, but through wholesalers."

When asked "who in the government told him this" Dačić said it was "the minister of health at that time."

"The goal was to make sure Germans did not get angry and leave the country, to reach a compromise," Dačić said, adding that "ministers who served at that time" should speak about Galenika's business.

He also revealed that he learned from the court that former Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković, former Economy Minister Mlađan Dinkić, and former Secretary of State in the Ministry of Economy Nebojša Ćirić will all testify.

In May, another group of suspects was arrested in the ongoing Galenika case. This happened after three investigations into the shady dealings in Galenika, which was run by SPS officials.

The list of arrestees includes former Galenika general manager Nenad Ognjanović (60), Galenika Chairman of the Board and then SPS director Dejan Backović (39), Assistant General Manager for Economic Affairs at Galenika Dragan Sebrek (56).

Police also arrested Dragoljub Vučićević (66), former CEO and Chairman of the Board at Velefarm - formerly Serbia's biggest medicine wholesaler, and Velefarm Chief Financial Officer Miroslav Milovanović (60).

The suspects allegedly caused losses of about EUR 75 million to Galenika from November 2008 through 2012 to provide financial gain to legal entities from Belgrade operating within Velefarm Holding and to Dragoljub Vučićević .

The privatization of the state-owned Galenika was one of the 24 contentious privatizations, for which 135 people have been taken in for questioning so far, and all indictments have been confirmed.