PM says his party "not to blame" in corruption caseSource: Tanjug, Novi magazin
BELGRADE -- The problems is the state-owned Galenika pharmaceuticals did not start with the SPS - the party's leader and Serbian PM Ivica Dačić has said.
In an interview for the Belgrade-based Novi Magazin, he also asserted that "no party can have a decisive influence on any factory," and that, considering that he also served as interior minister at the time the investigation has been launched, this represented "a big plus for the SPS, because it means that there are no privileges."
"The problems" that the prime minister referred to concern a corruption affair
that saw several persons, accused of stealing at least EUR 12 million from the company, arrested last week.
"It is wrong to think that the party has something to do with it. I never let party personnel interfere in the MUP. In the case of Galenika, it can be said that somebody was close to the SPS, it can be said that somebody who is a member of the SPS sat in the Galenika managing board - but the story that one party ruled Galenika is nonsense. Anyway, I am the interior minister and why should any of that upset us," he was quoted as saying.
Dačić also stated that "the Ministry of Finance rejected offers," and identified as "the key problem that should yet be investigated" the huge debt that the state had toward Serbia's biggest drugmaker.
"If you look more closely, it turns out that the state did make payments, but not the factory directly - instead they paid retailers. And there's the situation where out of those one hundred million (debt) the state owes 60-70-80, and nobody's been held responsible! Some foreign manufacturers collected payments for their drugs, well I can wonder if somebody was out to destroy the domestic drugmaker? All that needs to be determined. Business policy is one thing, crime another. But whoever it may be, I'm not interested in partisan affiliation," Dačić said.
Asked about allegations that he had ties with the crime clan headed by the suspected fugitive drug lord Darko Šarić, and speculations that the American DEA provided him with protection after the affair broke out, Dačić once again rejected all claims against him.
"If my ties consist of having known a man four or five years ago, who was later suspected of criminal activity - then that is one pathetic fight against crime. Pathetic, if that's the main evidence. I am not running away from discussions and truth. Anyway, few would have survived the kind of attacks and blows that I have. But, if I meant to do something criminal, I would have some interests... Even today I live the same way I did before," he was further quoted by the magazine.
The prime minister also noted that he "met four times with the director of (the U.S.) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)," and added:
"In June I will travel to Moscow to a conference organized by the DEA, I met with the director of the FBI. These are police structures and all that was happening after that event (meetings with Rodoljub Radulović) from the start of my mandate. I knew the man from before, and nobody warned me that he was involved in that kind of activity. Well, somebody would have reacted, warned me, or at least avoided me."