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28 Feb 13

Kusturica Quits After Featuring on Auditors' Black List

The State Audit Institution, DRI, has accused a string of officials of irregularities in spending the 2011 budget - including the movie director Emir Kusturica who has resigned as head of a nature park as a result.

Beta, BIRN Belgrade

Serbia's State Auditors have launched misdemeanor proceedings in 193 cases, filing 28 economic offence reports and eight criminal reports against state officials.

They have named a total of 319 persons in connection with financial irregularities from the 2011 budget.

Kusturica Quits as Head of Nature Park

The film director decided on Wednesday to step down as head of the Mokra Gora Nature Park after the State Audit Institution had accused him of misspending budget funds.

"As I do not wish to partake in public life which pillories 'traffic violations' without previously proving that any violation, abuse of office, or misspending of funds took place, I have decided to resign from office," Kusturica was quoted as saying.

He also resigned as president of the Ski Association of Serbia, and said he will neither seek nor accept assistance from the state in organizing his Kustendorff Film Festival in Mokra Gora.

Radoslav Sretenovic, chair of the auditors, said in the report that illegal acts in 122 audited entities cost the country 47 billion dinars (about 413 million euro) in 2011.

A statement said criminal reports were filed against the mayors of Pozarevac, Uzice and Vranje, Miodrag Milosavljevic, Jovan Markovic, and Miroljub Stojcic - and against the municipal heads of Backi Petrovac and Pirot, Vladimir Turan and Vladan Vasic.

Misdemeanor proceedings were mounted against seven ambassadors, to Belgium, Italy, Greece, France, Russia, and Montenegro: Radomir Diklic, Sanda Raskovic-Ivic, Dragan Zupanjevac, Dusan Batakovic, Jelica Kurjak, and Zoran Lutovac, respectively.

Misdemeanor proceedings were also initiated against the well-known film director Emir Kusturica who - among other things - doubles up as director of the Mokra Gora nature park.

Similar charges face the chair of Belgrade's City Waste Management, Aleksandar Stamenkovic, the Elektrovojvodina power company director Tihomir Simic,  Srbijagas natural gas distributor director Dusan Bajatovic, Belgrade city transport service GSP head Mileta Radojevic and Kostolac thermal power plant and coal mine director Dragan Jovanovic.

Auditors have filed numerous such charges against Serbian officials in previous years, in spite of which no one has ever been indicted. 

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