Marinika Tepic, the deputy head of the opposition’s Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP), showed to reporters on Monday the contract between the state-owned Telekom Serbia and private company Wireless Media, based on which the latter, owned by Igor Zezelj, received 38 million euro from Telekom.
“The contract is worth 38 million euro, and that’s our money. That is a real criminal offence, organised crime, if you will” Tepic told the reporters gathered outside Telekom’s headquarters.
She produced the document which, according to her, confirmed what she had been saying for weeks – “the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and Telekom’s management are buying and paying media outlets in Serbia with our (state’s) money.”
“This document reveals the mystery behind the Mondo news website, i.e. how Telekom simply gave this website to Žeželj, and how thanks to that, the value of Zezelj’s assets grew from 2 to 40 million euro in a short time. In return, he would use the website to demonize the opposition and favour the ruling party,” Tepic told journalists.
The contract stipulates that Zezelj will receive 10 million euro to buy the Kurir daily and 28 million euro for “production of other content”, which, as Tepic added, Telekom would then buy from Zezelj.
When asked how she obtained the contract since it is considered confidential information, she replied that the contract is considered a business secret only between the contracting parties and that the publication of this document is “in the public interest”.
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Earlier, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic accused Tepic and other opposition leaders of spreading lies about Telekom to destroy the state companies and called on the prosecution to react.
Asked to comment on the accusation, Tepic said she also had been calling on the prosecutors to react for a while and that she might sue the prosecutors’ office for inaction and complicity in organised crime in case it does not act.
“They are not only stealing public money but are also exerting direct influence on the media. This is an issue that concerns all of us,” Tepic added.
Lawyer Vladimir Todorovic stated that the state was banned by the law to own media outlets, but that it could use Zezelj’s companies, which received ten million euro in commission, as a Trojan Horse to control the media.
“According to the contract, (state-owned enterprise) Telekom Serbia has the right to exert influence on the content produced by the media outlets in question, to be their exclusive associate and to buy the company Mondo INC,” Todoric said.
This post is also available in: Italiano