- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
The new Serbian government has started its promised fight against corruption by arresting eight senior mangers of a troubled local bank.
Serbia's Prosecutor's Office for Organized Crime announced on Wednesday evening that eight top officials of Agrobanka and two private companies suspected of wrongdoings had been arrested in a joint action by the Serbian Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office.
"So far the investigation has shown that Agrobanka had granted a large number of loans to mutually networked legal entities and without appropriate guarantees, which is contrary to the Law on Banks, the regulations of the National Bank of Serbia and the bank's own acts," reads a statement from the Prosecutor’s Office.
"Because of that, the bank was unable to collect loan repayments exceeding 200 million euro," Miljko Radisavljevic, Serbia's prosecutor for organized crime, said.
Radisavljevic refused to disclose the suspects' identity, saying that the case was in an early phase.
However, the local media reported that Dusan Antonic, the bank's former chairman, was among them.
Earlier reports suggested that he was a person of interest in the investigation into suspected wrongdoings that led to Agrobanka's downfall.
He was supposed to be questioned by the police on Wednesday morning but he allegedly attempted to flee the country.
According to the Serbian national broadcaster B92, Antonic was arrested at the Sremska Raca border crossing between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at around 10pm on Wednesday.
The new government has pledged to get to the bottom of the Agrobanka affair.
The bank's license to operate was revoked after it was discovered that it had accumulated debt in the amount of 300 million euros - mostly by granting loans to companies that did not provide adequate guarantees. The loans were subsequently never repaid.
You can read more about the troubled bank's businesses in Balkan Insight's “New” Agrobanka Leaves Old Shareholders Fuming.
The Hague Tribunal has been successful in bringing wartime commanders to justice but hasn’t met expectations on reconciliation, chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz told BIRN.