Dačić apologizes to Koštunica's DSS party

BELGRADE -- Ivica Dačić on Tuesday apologized to the opposition (DSS) "if a statement made by Branko Ružić made space for accusations that it was financed by crime groups".

(Beta, file)
(Beta, file)

Ružić, a high-ranking official of Dačić's Socialists (SPS), on Sunday told B92 that the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) "received EUR 220,000 in monthly contributions from Šarić's clan".

Darko Šarić is a fugitive from justice and a suspect drug kingpin, while Dačić has recently been in hot water over revelations that he had met with a member of the crime gang.

Today, the prime minister spoke about the accusations against the DSS to note that that "such things are not needed in Serbia's political scene, which is rife with speculation and fabrications as it is", an advised that his party "should not to reach for such things":

"I wish to apologize to the DSS if any kind of connotation was taken out of this, in the sense of accusations that the party was financed by any crime group."

He further noted that the two parties previously had good cooperation during the minority government backed by the SPS:

"I think this is absolutely unnecessary. We have had our political differences, but that is one thing, while this is something that I would not wish to happen to me, or anyone else."

On Monday, the DSS reacted to Ružić's statement by rejecting it as "a shameless lie", and asked the public prosecutor to interview the head of the SPS parliamentary group "over the lies that he uttered".

Ružić revisits statement, finds "media spin"

Branko Ružić addressed the controversy on Tuesday to say it was "a shameless lie" that he accused the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) of having received funds from a drug smuggling ring.

“After two days of media spinning, I would like to ask DSS officials and Vojislav Koštunica and Petar Petković to watch the show posted on the website of B92 TV and see that it is a shameless lie that I accused DSS of receiving funds from a drug smuggling ring,” Ružić told reporters in the parliament.

Ružić then stated that his statement made during the show was that he "cannot believe that this drug smuggling ring funded the DSS", and that he "cannot bring Koštunica in connection to the issue" - and added that his position on this "is still the same".

Ružić added that it was "unfair of the media to cause so much commotion concerning something that is not true", noting that SPS was both in the government and in the opposition throughout the history of the multiparty system and it supported Koštunica's minority government coalition when fruitful cooperation was achieved with the party in many areas.

"Citizens want to know who headed and held responsible offices in government bodies in charge of following the major financial inflow coming from the smuggling ring over the years when no SPS official held those positions," Ružić said.

He expressed the belief that DSS representatives and Koštunica, who advocates the rule of law, respect of the Constitution and laws, as well as the government, Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vuči, all "want facts to be determined".