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Monday, 2 April, 2001, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
The Milosevic charge sheet
On 1 April The Serbian news agency Beta carried what it said was the "full text" of the criminal charges laid against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four others".

On 2 April a new charge of "organising a group and inciting persons to prevent actions by officials" was added to the list, as police alleged Mr Milosevic had urged his bodyguards to shoot at officers attempting to arrest him.

To the District Public Prosecutor, Belgrade:

On the basis of Article 151 Paragraph 6 of the law on criminal proceedings, criminal charges are brought against:

1. SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC: son of Svetozar, born 21 August 1941 in Pozarevac, resident in Belgrade, Tolstojeva 33, on the basis of the founded suspicion that he committed the criminal act of abuse of official position, in breach of Article 242 Paragraph 3, connected with Paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia; and the criminal act of association in order to carry out criminal acts defined by the federal law in Article 254 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of the FRY.

2. MIHALJ KERTES: son of Mihalj, born 29 August 1947, in Backa Palanka, resident in Belgrade, Beogradskog Bataljona 83, on the basis of the founded suspicion that he committed the criminal act of abuse of official position, in breach of Article 174 Paragraph 3, connected with Paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code of the FRY; and the criminal act of association in order to carry out criminal acts defined by the federal law in Article 254 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of the FRY.

3. NIKOLA SAINOVIC: son of Risto, born 17 August 1943 in Bor, resident in Belgrade, Save Kovacevica 52, on the basis of the founded suspicion that he committed the criminal act of abuse of official position, in breach of Article 174 Paragraph 3, connected with Paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code of the FRY; and the criminal act of association in order to carry out criminal acts defined by the federal law in Article 254 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of the FRY.

4. JOVAN ZEBIC: son of Branislav, born 5 May 1939, in Runjani, Loznica, resident in Belgrade, Save Kovacevica 42, on the basis of the founded suspicion that he committed the criminal act of abuse of official position, in breach of Article 174 Paragraph 3, connected with Paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code of the FRY; and the criminal act of association in order to carry out criminal acts defined by the federal law in Article 254 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of the FRY.

5. RADOMIR MARKOVIC: son of Marko, born 11 August 1946 in Lukavac, Tuzla, resident in Belgrade, Zarkovacka 48, on the basis of the founded suspicion that he committed the criminal act of abuse of official position, in breach of Article 174 Paragraph 3, connected with Paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code of the FRY; and the criminal act of association in order to carry out criminal acts defined by the federal law in Article 254 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of the FRY.

There is founded suspicion that the charged Slobodan Milosevic, in his capacity as president of the Republic of Serbia until 17 May 1997, and then as president of the FRY until 5 October 2000, committed the above-mentioned criminal acts with the intention of acquiring financial and other benefits for himself, for a certain circle of people, and for the then governing SPS (Socialist Party of Serbia), which he led, by keeping that political party in power, as well as keeping particular persons in public posts, through the fact that, exceeding the limits of his official authority, he issued illegal orders in breach of the legal and constitutional authority vested in the president of Serbia and the president of the FRY, amounting to a total so far of more than 1,789,777,522.00 dinars and DM197,737,176.34, thus flagrantly violating the right to work and employment rights of those working in bodies financed from the federal and republic budgets and of all citizens of Serbia and the FRY.

The criminal act of association in order to carry out criminal acts defined by the federal law he committed by organizing in 1994 and 1995 a group of federal officials, namely Federal Customs Administration Director Mihalj Kertes, Republic of Serbia Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic, Republic of Serbia Deputy Prime Minister Jovan Zebic, and others with whom he reached agreement and whom he ordered systematically to violate, or fail to implement, federal laws in order to fulfil the intentions described above, such actions having the characteristics of criminal acts defined by the law and liable to sentences of five years in prison or heavier penalties (abuse of official position, unscrupulous work in service, falsification of official documents, and so forth).

The charged Mihalj Kertes and Nikola Sainovic helped the first charged, Slobodan Milosevic, to commit the above-mentioned criminal act of abuse of official position, each within the framework of his official competence entrusted to him in the administration and organization of the work of state organs that they led or whose work they coordinated, by placing all available resources of those bodies towards fulfilling the orders stemming from the agreements that they concluded with the first charged in 1994 and 1995 and later. Furthermore, the charged Kertes and Sainovic, in organizing the work of the Federal Customs Administration and the federal government, endeavoured to remove all obstacles that could hinder the execution of the illegal orders of the charged Milosevic, later concealing the criminal acts that he committed by preventing checks on the work of the Federal Customs Administration and by actively taking part in the acquisition and distribution of the financial resources gained through the criminal acts described above.

The charged Jovan Zebic committed the criminal act described above since by previous agreement with the first charged Milosevic he failed to discharge his official duties as deputy prime minister of the FRY, in charge of the budget and finance, from 1994 and later up until 5 October 2000, all with the intention of damaging the federal budget.

If they had properly fulfilled their duties through organizing legal work by the Federal Customs Administration and remitting funds from customs dues to the relevant accounts, the federal budget would have been spared damage amounting to more than 1,789,777,522.00 dinars and about DM 197,737,176.34.

There is founded suspicion that the fifth charged Radomir Markovic, when he was head of the State Security Service of the MUP (Interior Ministry) of Serbia, incited the second charged Mihalj Kertes to commit the criminal act of abuse of official position by requesting same to pay 441,189.97 dinars from the Federal Customs Administration for the reconstruction of, and improvements to, his private boat, which the charged Kertes did on 9 May 2000.

The charged Slobodan Milosevic, in his capacity as president of Serbia, on an undetermined day in 1994, but after the appointment of Mihalj Kertes as director of the Federal Customs Administration on 21 April 1994, organized a meeting attended by, apart from himself and the director of the Federal Customs Administration, federal Deputy Prime Ministers Nikola Sainovic and Jovan Zebic.

At the proposal of the charged, it was agreed that part of the customs and tax dues paid into the Federal Customs Administration should be transferred, in breach of the existing legal regulations, to a special account of the Federal Customs Administration opened at the Belgrade Bank rather than to the federal budget.

The aim of such a transfer of funds, which belonged to the federal budget and which should have been distributed in accordance with the planned budget requirements for that year, was allegedly to guarantee financing for the work of public enterprises and state bodies in Serbia.

But in this way payments to a large number of legal entities on the territory of the Republic of Serbia (sentence as received).

The payments were made to a giro account of the Federal Customs Administration number 40818-845-0-955 at the Settlement and Payments Section of the National Bank of Yugoslavia, main Belgrade branch. The payment of funds was made on the basis of a fictitious return of customs dues. In this way a total of 789,777,522.00 dinars was paid out in the period between 1994 and 1997.

EXHIBIT: Report from 30 March 2001 with appendices. At the next meeting, also held at the initiative of the first charged Slobodan Milosevic, on an undetermined day at some time in the mid-1995, attended by Jovan Zebic and Federal Customs Administration director Mihalj Kertes, it was agreed that part of the customs dues should be paid in cash, and that this money should later be transferred to a specific circle of beneficiaries who would be established through separate agreements. It should be mentioned here that it had already been largely established that funds of the Federal Customs Administration should be transferred to an account at the Belgrade Bank, contrary to existing legal regulations.

EXHIBIT: Written statement by Mihalj Kertes. Written statement by Jovan Zebic. Federal Customs Administration director Mihalj Kertes implemented the above-mentioned agreement by issuing an order to all customs administrators to submit temporarily foreign exchange levied from foreign exchange violations, as well as all receipts, directly to him, or to the office of the director of the Federal Customs Administration. Later, in 1998, the second charged Mihalj Kertes issued a written order to all customs offices requesting them to accept customs duty on all goods in cash, and the Federal Customs Administration organized the transfer to it of those funds. Throughout 2000, the director of the Federal Customs Administration decreed that certain dues should be paid in foreign exchange, and ordered that these too should be transferred to the Federal Customs Administration.

EXHIBIT: Federal Customs Administration notice No 06/01 strictly confidential 83/1 of 28.12.1995. Federal Customs Administration notice No 06/01 (words indistinct) 17297/1 of 28.12.1998. Federal Customs Administration notice 06/1 strictly confidential No 22/1 of 24.7.2000. All of these resources collected in dinars, and especially in foreign exchange, the second charged Mihalj Kertes disposed of exclusively in accordance with the orders of the first charged Milosevic. The collected foreign exchange resources were directed to a broad circle of beneficiaries who were not budget beneficiaries, and no official record was organized in the Federal Customs Administration of such distribution of resources. There are accurate figures for the total amount of the financial resources collected, and they refer to three sources: the collection of foreign exchange and dinar funds from the payment of customs dues; the collection of resources from the sale at auction of motor vehicles and customs goods; and the collection of foreign exchange funds from the confiscations as a result of customs violations.

EXHIBIT: Report on cash handling CI Surcin (Belgrade airport) 07 No D-665 of 5.12.2000. Examination of auctions of motor vehicles and customs goods and revenue accruing from same in the period from 1995 to 2000. Report on paid funds submitted to the Federal Customs Administration by customs offices in the period from 4.5.1994 to 30.11.2000. Resources from the above-named sources were submitted exclusively to the Federal Customs Administration, and decisions on their disposal were taken by the charged Mihalj Kertes in agreement with, or on the orders of, the first charged Slobodan Milosevic. In accordance with this way of handling the resources detailed above, on 7.6.1996 Nikola Sainovic and Dusan Matkovic were paid DM900,000; then on 30.11.1996 Nikola Sainovic was paid DM150,000; and on 22.12.1996 the same person was paid DM100,000 by the first charged. The money was paid out by the charged Mihalj Kertes in his office. EXHIBIT: Written receipts from 7.6.1996, 30.11.1996 and 22.12.1996. Written statement by Nikola Sainovic. Written statement by Mihalj Kertes. On 20.11.1997 the second charged Kertes handed over DM500,000 to Migo Samardzic, leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia, in his office in the building of the Federal Customs Administration. Immediately before the elections on 24.9.2000, also on the orders of the first charged, the charged Kertes handed to Milan Jovanovic, an official of the Socialist Party of Serbia, the sums of DM2,000,000 and 30,000,000.00 dinars with the aim of financing the election activities of the Socialist Party of Serbia. On 4 October 2000, on the orders of the first charged Milosevic, Mihalj Kertes paid Uros Suvakovic, SPS official, the sum of DM2,000,000 which the latter took possession of on the premises of the Federal Customs Administration; and immediately before this, in September, Suvakovic also took possession of the sum of 10,000,000.00 (not specified) in the same way.

EXHIBIT: Written statement by Mihalj Kertes. Written statement by Milan Raseta. Written statement by Vladimir Djingalasevic. Written statement by Uros Suvakovic. Written statement by Mladen Stjelja. On several occasions in 2000, the second charged Kertes paid out foreign exchange to Zivadin Jovanovic, then minister of foreign affairs in the government of the FRY. Thus, on the orders of the first charged, once in the office of the minister of foreign affairs, which at the time was situated in Bulevar Mira, the charged Kertes handed Jovanovic DM500,000, and a second time on the premises of the Federal Customs Administration, he handed over the sum of DM923,000.

EXHIBIT: Written statement by Mihalj Kertes. Written statement by Zivadin Jovanovic. Besides these payments, by agreement with the first charged, and on the order of the second charged Kertes, a total of 2,000,000.00 dinars was paid out from the account of the Federal Customs Administration by bank transfer in three transactions in 1997 to the provincial committee of the Socialist Party of Vojvodina.

EXHIBIT: Payment orders from 10.9.1997, 18.9.1997 and 30.9.1997. Besides the payment order to the provincial committee of the SPS in Novi Sad, on the orders of the first charged cash totalling 10,000,000.00 (not specified) was also taken.

EXHIBIT: Written statement by Mladen Stjelja. On the orders of the first charged, dinar resources from the Federal Customs Administration, disbursed from the dinar cash reserves, were used to cover the cost of refurbishing the apartments of the following national deputies from Kosovo-Metohija: Blagoje Milenkovic, Ibro Vajto, Branislav Hadziperic, Ljubisa Stevanovic and Ljuan Koka, in the sum amounting to 1,386,148.13 dinars, all this according to documents from the Stankom agency in Belgrade No 20/99 of 26.1.1999.

EXHIBIT: Summary of expenses for refurbishing apartments No 20/99 of 26.11.1999. A substantial part of the foreign exchange funds was paid out directly in the name of, or for the account of, the MUP (Interior Ministry) of Serbia, the State Security Service. In this regard, the first charged Slobodan Milosevic issued a special order to the second charged Mihalj Kertes that all requirements submitted by leaders of that service, and chiefly the head of that service, had to be met by payment of the amount requested, and this method of payment remained in effect throughout the time that the second charged Mihalj Kertes was director of the Federal Customs Administration. On the basis of checks and inspections of the documents of the Federal Customs Administration, it was established that funds amounting to DM38,000,000 paid on the basis of customs dues through the Belgrade Bank stockholders company in Belgrade were taken out of the FRY without the permission of the National Bank of Yugoslavia and credited to the account of the Belgrade Bank at the BBCOBU in Cyprus, and then transferred on to the accounts of foreign companies. For these payments the Belgrade Bank has so far made available for inspection only part of the documentation for an amount of about DM6,500,000, while the remaining documentation is said to be in foreign banks and not accessible at present. On the basis of inspection of the documents made available it has not been possible to establish what the payments were used for.

EXHIBIT: Report from 30.3.2000 with appendices, concerning how the Federal Customs Administration did not keep official records of the disbursement of all cash funds, but instead there were only incomplete internal files kept by workers at the Federal Customs Administration who carried out cash handling work in that they disbursed cash. This means that at this moment there are no accurate data showing precisely how much money was given out for the alleged requirements of the State Security Service in keeping with the agreement described above between the first and second charged. An analysis of the internal files showed that workers at the Federal Customs administration who disbursed funds for these purposes gave the money to the director, who after taking possession of the dinar and foreign exchange funds then passed them to the head of the State Security Service, to the head of his office Marjan Zovic, to State Security Service worker Milan Raseta, who was head of security for the director of the Federal Customs Administration, and State Security Service workers Raso Kandic, Milan Prodanovic and other State Security Service workers who on the orders of the head of that service came to the premises of the Federal Customs Administration to see the second charged and collect the money. Large sums from these resources were taken out of the country allegedly to procure equipment for the needs of the State Security Service; and in accordance with this, and in agreement with Belgrade Bank chairwoman Borka Vucic, sums totalling DM7,010,000 were disbursed on 4.12.1997 to be taken to the branch of the Belgrade Bank in Cyprus. Furthermore, the second charged Mihalj Kertes travelled to Cyprus on four occasions, and on one of these took foreign exchange funds also for the alleged requirements of the State Security Service.

These funds, however, were not recorded in the official document for exporting money, Form 1450. Instead the money was taken out illegally and there is no record of it in the country. On the basis of checks carried out, it was established that Mihalj Kertes and Radomir Markovic agreed that funds from the Federal Customs Administration be used to settle an invoice No 09-05-00 of 9.5.2000 submitted by PP Hromil of Gospodjinci. The invoice was submitted to the Federal Customs Administration, but referred to work carried out on the boat MIR, which was privately owned by Radomir Markovic. Mihalj Kertes made a handwritten note about this payment.

EXHIBIT: Invoice No 09-05-00 of 9.5.2000. Photocopy of note by Mihalj Kertes. Written statement by Mihalj Kertes. Written statement by Radomir Markovic. Written statement by Mladen Stjelja. On the basis of checks carried out, it was established that Mihalj Kertes, in line with an agreement that he reached with other charged persons illegally distributed goods that had been confiscated from legal entities on the basis of customs violations. In this way Mihalj Kertes illegally placed at the disposal of the Socialist Party of Serbia 26 motor vehicles, part going to physical persons and part to private enterprises for their own permanent use. Besides the motor vehicles, Mihalj Kertes also illegally distributed other kinds of goods. He also illegally distributed 4,561,450 litres of petroleum derivates.

EXHIBIT: Statement from 30.3.2001 with appendices. In view of the fact that this form of spending of funds was against the law, and the actions of all of the charged showed all the hallmarks of criminal acts, on several occasions in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 the chief federal budget inspector contacted the second charged with a view to carrying out a check on the legality of the distribution of budgetary funds, since he suspected that such distribution was illegal. The second charged, however, would not permit such checks, and the checks were not carried out. The federal budget inspector informed the federal government and the prime ministers during that period, Radoje Kontic and Momir Bulatovic, about the problem of the illegal work of the Federal Customs Administration. On 10 June 1997, the Economic Committee of the federal government adopted a decision that the Federal Customs Administration be obliged to discharge its legally defined obligations towards the federal budget, but this was not implemented. Neither was action taken on the warnings to federal Prime Minister Radoje Kontic, delivered to him the previous year, on 10 June 1996, by the Federal Budget Inspectorate, Federal Foreign Exchange Inspectorate and Federal Administration Inspectorate. This communication warned the federal prime minister that it had been impossible to carry out inspection supervision in the Federal Customs Administration, and also warned of abuses that were being committed with regard to the distribution of temporarily confiscated foreign exchange stemming from infringement of the foreign exchange regulations. Not even this warning, however, had any effect on the further work of the Federal Customs Administration.

EXHIBIT: Note from three inspectorates on 10.6.1996 to federal Prime Minister Dr Radoje Kontic. The second charged Mihalj Kertes has explained that on questions relating to the work of the Federal Customs Administration he maintained contact with the first charged Slobodan Milosevic and that he did not keep other state bodies informed about his work. It unequivocally stems from this that in order to conceal criminal acts that had been committed, both by himself and the other charged, he used the authority vested in him at that time systematically to block checks on the work of the Federal Customs Administration. In view of the fact that the first accused Slobodan Milosevic is responsible in accordance with Article 26 of the Criminal Code of the FRY, because he organized a group of persons in order to carry out criminal acts, and in view of the fact that the activities of this group also encompass other criminal acts not covered by these criminal charges, there is a real danger that he will try through his actions to destroy evidence pertaining to these criminal acts, too, bearing in mind that he is also responsible for these and that he carried them out himself.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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