News 11 Feb 13

Serbia PM May be Grilled on Drug Gang Ties

The Prosecutor for Organized Crime may summon Ivica Dacic for questioning as part of a wider probe into official links to a notorious drugs gang.

 Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Vice President of the Goverment Aleksandar Vucic I Photo by Beta

The Prosecutor’s Office for Organised Crime has launched an investigation aimed at gathering all information on communications between officials and Rodoljub Radulovic, a member of suspected drug lord Darko Saric's gang.

The Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic is among those facing an investigation.

"The police are obliged to provide us with all the data they have gathered about Radulovic and his meetings with officials, including those leaked to the media,” a source from the prosecution said.

The source was referring to 130 discs containing police surveillance material and other police transcripts that the media recently revealed, which link various state officials to both Radulovic and Saric.

“If these reports are true, Dacic and other members from his cabinet could be summoned for questioning and... Dacic could face criminal charges for revealing state secrets,” the source told Balkan Insight. “Everything will be clear in the upcoming days,” the source added.

Last weekend, media published leaked data documenting meetings between Dacic, the then head of his office, Branko Lazarevic, and Radulovic.

The daily newspaper Blic said Dacic had met Radulovic several times in 2008 and 2009 when Dacic was Interior Minister in the previous government.

Radulovic apparently asked him about ongoing police investigations into Saric's affairs and also gave him a cell phone from Saric.

On February 3, Dacic confirmed he had met Radulovic several times, but he added that he had not been aware at the time that Radulovic was a suspected criminal and he insisted that no state secrets were revealed.

Saric, who is of Montenegrin origin but holds Serbian citizenship, is the alleged leader of an organised criminal group suspected of smuggling cocaine from Latin America to Europe. 

Prosecutors filed charges against Saric and his associates in April 2010 and issued a warrant for his arrest. Both Saric and Radulovic are at large.

The Vice President of the government, Aleksandar Vucic, on Sunday said he did not believe Dacic had committed an offence.

“But my word doesn’t mean anything. This will have to be said by the relevant institutions, and they may say differently,” Vucic said.

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