Democrats' accounts frozen due to unpaid loan

BELGRADE -- Accounts of the Democratic Party (DS) have been blocked since the Finance Ministry has not approved funds for election campaign costs, a DS official has said.

Božidar Đelić addresses a news conference on Tuesday (Tanjug)
Božidar Đelić addresses a news conference on Tuesday (Tanjug)

“Just like all parties, we took out loans for the election campaign and we have been waiting for the Finance Ministry for the last two months to give us an approval for funds we get from the budget. I hope this is not some pressure on our party,” high-ranking DS official Božidar Đelić said.

“Once that is done, we will have enough funds to cover it (the debt),” he told Radio Television of Serbia (RTS).

Finance Minister Mlađan Dinkić stated on Wednesday that he would not allow that the DS' request to pay off its debt with the budget funds intended for the regular financing of monthly activities be fulfilled.

“The DS is asking us to break the law (on the financing of political parties) and I will not allow it,” the minister told reporters and added that he was “shocked” by the DS officials’ statements.

According to Dinkić, all the money intended for the campaign was paid to the DS during former PM Mirko Cvetković’s government.

The minister said he was “appalled” by the fact that the DS had gotten a multi-million loan for the campaign from the Development Bank of Vojvodina without guarantees “which is something that not a single entrepreneur or a businessman can get”.

“The big question is how they could get such a big loan without financial security and now they are asking that the law be broken so they could repay the loan and it is simply unacceptable,” Dinkić stressed.

Daily Danas has reported that all DS’ accounts are blocked due to the fact that the party did not repay the loan it took from the Development Bank of Vojvodina. The bank has launched a proceeding for forced collection of RSD 335.4mn.

The accounts have been blocked because the DS raised a loan with the Development Bank of Vojvodina ahead of last year's May elections and "did not offer collateral within the envisaged deadline," which is why "the bank initiated the process of enforced collection,” the daily writes.