BIRN journalist Aleksandar Djordjevic says that the company owned by the wife of Mladen Petkovic, former director of the Krusik plant, now Zastava Oružje, has been involved in the construction of Corridor 11, the Milos Veliki motorway, and the Belgrade Waterfront development.
He added that the same company had increased its profits a thousand times in two years and that the Petkovic family had bought an apartment in Vracar worth 400,000 euro.
Speaking to the Krusik factory informant, Aleksandar Obradovic, who informed the public about the shady dealings between the Valjevo-based factory and a company affiliated with the father of Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, the journalist said that it was important to consider the wider context of the entire story, namely that Mladen Petkovic is affiliated with the Serbian Progressive Party and was appointed director of Krusik in 2014 without having any experience in the field or working for large companies.
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“After he (Petkovic) was appointed director, a new company emerged called GIM, which became one of the largest and most important arms dealers and which bought arms from Krusik at a lower price than the competition. GIM is Branko Stefanovic. Even if he is not mentioned as the owner or a representative of the company on paper, Krusik’s documents show that he directly negotiated the sale of weapons. During that time, GIM concluded business deals worth over $40 million for buying and selling mines while the previous company had a meagre income and did not trade in weapons,” Djordjevic said.
Petkovic’s wife also runs a company.
“The company owned by the wife of the director of Krusik is active in the construction sector and has been engaged in the construction of Corridor 11, the Milos Veliki motorway and the Belgrade Waterfront development. The company has increased its profits by 1,000 times in two years. In just one year, the Petkovic family earned enough money to buy a 170 sqm apartment in Vracar for 400,000 euro,” Djordjevic explained, adding that the properties that the family owns have also increased significantly.
Krusik whistleblower Aleksandar Obradovic, who is currently under house arrest, has been temporarily removed from his job. BIRN journalist Aleksandar Djordjevic explains that this is a legal procedure that somehow benefits him because he cannot be fired. However, because he is on a temporary leave of absence, he receives only a quarter of his salary.
Obradovic is accused of revealing a professional secret while the BIRN journalist says that he was dealing with ordinary commercial contracts that stipulate from whom, what, how much and for what money the company buys something, adding that there is no reason why these contracts should be kept secret.
He fears that the prosecution and the judiciary are going round in circles, adding that it would be better if they dealt with the affairs associated with Minister Stefanovic and his father.
“It seems to me that the prosecution is conducting a case against Obradovic, in this case, under direct political influence,” concludes Djordjevic. He also thinks that with this arrest the regime has drawn attention to itself and opened a Pandora’s box that will be difficult to close.
This post is also available in: Italiano