State scrambles to finish its own economic plan

A CYPRUS-BASED Serbian businessman who implicated the late former president Tassos Papadopoulos in a lawsuit linked to sanctions-busting for the Slobobodan Milosevic regime has been investigated by police in connection with the theft of his body.

“I was fighting Papadopoulos when he was alive so now they are trying to intimidate me,” Predrag Djordjevic told the Cyprus Mail.

He said police arrived at his home on Sunday 11am asking for his permission to search the premises.

Djordjevic gave his consent and after a “brief search” officers took his statement and left. It lasted around two hours, the businessman said. “This is ridiculous,” Djordjevic said.

He said the officers were all right towards him “but the people who send them here are definitely sending me a message.”

Djordjevic has been seeking compensation and damages in a 900,000 Deutschmark (DM) transaction he said was never completed while sanctions were in force against Yugoslavia when Milosevic was in power.

In 1994 he had a licence issued on humanitarian grounds by the United Nations that allowed him to sell cotton for manufacturing medical products to a Serbian company.

To facilitate payment, Djordjevic opened an account at Beogradska Banka in Nicosia in the name of Genemp, his trading company.

But instead of receiving the full amount from Belgrade directly, claimed Djordjevic, Genemp was credited with just DM 537,000, which had been transferred from the Popular Bank account of Antexol – an offshore company in Cyprus.

Djordjevic sought the remaining DM 360,000 plus damages from Popular Bank. He believes this amount was also credited to Antexol's account at Popular Bank, but was used for other purposes.

Antexol was named by the International War Crimes Tribunal as one of eight offshore ventures forming part of a money-laundering network.

All of them had opened accounts with the Popular Bank.

They were registered on the island by the Tassos Papadopoulos law firm.

Essentially, it was Djordjevic’s contention that his company had been mistaken for one of the money-laundering fronts on the island, and that the Popular Bank, Beogradska and Antexol were embroiled in a conspiracy illegally to siphon cash from the former Yugoslavia to Cyprus.

Under this scenario, the cash would be illegally brought to Larnaca airport in suitcases; there the Yugoslav couriers would meet with representatives of Beogradska; the money would then be counted and distributed into various accounts held with the Popular Bank, in the presence of bank employees and Beogradska officials.

The case has been thrown out in court but Djordjevic plans to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“It is clear, they know I am filing a case at the EU,” he said yesterday. He said the search and questioning was a threatening message to him and his family because people still wanted to cover it all up.

“That will never happen. I will take it to the end,” Djordjevic said.

By George Psyllides, Published by Cyprusmail on December 22, 2009|||Police visit Serbian businessmans home in Papadopoulos investigation
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