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What is behind the smear campaign against Stanko Subotic (7)

Tijanic threatens Beba Popovic, Zarko Korac

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Tobacco experts: Dobrica Cosic, Aleksandar Aleksejev, Aleksandar Tijanic
Tobacco experts: Dobrica Cosic, Aleksandar Aleksejev, Aleksandar Tijanic
Photo: Vladimir Milovanovic/Betaphoto

All that has been the focus of public attention during the past few weeks: charges by Srdja Popovic in the political background of the assassination of Zoran Djindjic, the misplaced and lost charges filed by Vladimir Popovic against Legija’s lawyers, articles by Jasna Babic about an organized campaign by the weekly Nacional against Zoran Djindjic, Milo Djukanovic and Stanko Subotic, as well as articles about the role of former US ambassador William Montgomery take us back to the unprecedented media campaign which has been going on for years against the same individuals, mainly against Stanko Subotic, for the sole reason that he was a friend of Zoran Djindjic. From the vast volume of media documents which Serbialeaks has at its disposal, in a series of articles, we will present to our readers the methods, style, structure and motives behind this shocking smear campaign against Stanko Subotic, run in the same way in which Kostunica’s machinery had dealt with Vladimir Beba Popovic or the late Prime Minister for years. Articles from print media will be presented in their original form without comments, simply as proof of the pattern behind this political confrontation

Tijanic’s target: Zarko Korac
Photo: FoNet

Warrant for Cane Subotic (Kurir, 3 July 2007; by: R.K)

An international arrest warrant has been issued for businessman Stanko Subotic Cane. Allegedly he smuggled cigarettes during the 90s. Subotic’s photograph, personal information and the charges against him can now be viewed on the website of Interpol. An investigation was initiated against him in the special court on charges of smuggling and illegal sale of cigarettes from 1995 to 1997, whereby he defrauded the Serbian budget of €40 million. Charges say that Subotic led a crime group of 15 members. Nine have been arrested, while the rest are still at large.

Cane Filmed Dusan (Kurir, 7 July 2007; by: G.Katic)

Controversial businessman Stanko Cane Subotic secretly filmed former Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic during his stay at his villa in Marbella. Cane’s people made a recording of Subotic handing over a large sum of money to Mihajlovic for his political party. This sensational bit of information was disclosed a couple of days ago by Zarko Korac, a former deputy prime minister in Zoran Djindjic’s government, in an informal conversation with his close friends at a café in Belgrade.

Kurir learns from its source from the meeting that Korac said that Subotic was ready to give this recording to the Serbian police, as well as another recording where Mihajlovic could be seen pointing out Subotic as the key suspect in the Mreza (Net) police operation against cigarette smuggling. 

Tijanic under Threat (Press, 10 July 2007; by: E.P)

A former DOS leader is talking all over Belgrade that Milo Djukanovic and Stanko Subotic Cane recently “sent a terrifying message” to Director of the RTS (Radio Television Serbia)  Aleksandar Tijanic through him. He explains that Tijanic “has irrevocably offended Milo and Cane” and because of this he will soon be “drastically punished.” Asked if the life of the Director could be in danger, the former DOS leader nodded and said,

“Well, you know how it is, these are dangerous people…”

Director of the RTS Aleksandar Tijanic tells Press that he has also heard the story being spread around Belgrade by the “articulate DOS leader.”

“I heard the rumors, but I didn’t try to verify them,” says Tijanic.

 “I didn’t try to do it because not only would it be impolite of me to ask somebody, “Are you planning to kill me?” but above all I am convinced that the whole thing was fabricated in the laboratory of this former Serbian government official, this Pimped out Cockroach. Unable to resolve his quarrel with me by himself, he is now manipulating other people and using other people’s names, claiming that he created them and that he is smarter than them. He expects them to do things he dare not do himself. I conclude that the sweet curly haired baby firmly believes that Milo and Cane do such terrible things! I don’t believe it. As long as I am alive, you have proof that this is not true!” comments Tijanic in his very own style.

As to why a DOS leader would be spreading tales of threats Tijanic explains,

“My friends in Podgorica and Sveti Stefan regularly inform me that all along the coast and the hills, leaders of the dying DOS are saying to their hosts that I am personally responsible for every article published in Belgrade on cigarettes and Montenegro. I do not want to dignify these statements with an answer. It would be shameful to explain. I will not correct these statements! But Zarko Korac, who said on Montenegrin TV a week ago that I was the leader of a propaganda campaign against Montenegro, might have to appear before a Serbian or Montenegrin court to present evidence for such awful lies. Or he will have to take back his words before the entire world. It will not be the first time…”

Arrest, arrest, arrest: Dragan Jocic, former Interior Minister
Photo: Dragan Kujundžić
Cane to be Arrested Soon (Press, 26 Oct 2007; by: D.I)

Stanko Subotic Cane, one of the wanted heads of the “tobacco mafia”, for whose arrest Interpol has issued a Red Notice, is at his villa on Sveti Stefan in Montenegro, Press finds out from a source in the Serbian Interior Ministry! According to our extremely well informed source, Subotic mainly stays at his Villa Montenegro or at places close by, where he is frequently visited by friends and business associates.

“Even though Stanko Subotic is living in the lap of luxury on Sveti Stefan, he is under a kind of house arrest as his movements are severely restricted because of the Interpol warrant. Soon we will officially ask Montenegro to apprehend him and to hand him over,” says the Press source from the very top of the Interior Ministry.

Our source informs us that the police are conducting operations to apprehend Subotic and other wanted criminals. It is possible that Subotic escapes to Switzerland, very probably he has Swiss citizenship, and Switzerland does not extradite its citizens. This is why the Serbian police are carefully watching Subotic’s every move, and they expect the Montenegrins to help in his arrest.

This information is indirectly confirmed by a statement made by Interior Minister Dragan Jocic. In answer to a question by an MP about Subotic’s whereabouts, at a session of the defense and security committee, he said,

“According to our information, Subotic is in a neighboring country and we intend to ask this country to hand him over soon.”

However, the Montenegrin police say that they have checked the information that Subotic is in their territory and these claims are not true?!

Spokesperson Tamara Popovic says that it cannot be concluded from Jocic’s statement that Subotic is in Montenegro. However, she adds,

“Relevant departments took several steps and measures regarding some information, to locate and apprehend Subotic, but the results of these operations have negated allegations. If certain information becomes available in the future, the police will take all necessary and authorized measures to find and hand over Subotic.”

Cane’s Secret Bank Accounts (Blic, 22 Nov 2007; by: Tamara Markovic – Subota)

Stanko Subotic Cane, who is suspected of being the head of a powerful smuggling group most active during the mid 90s, made money transfers to Cyprus at a certain point. This money has ended up in secret bank accounts in Switzerland. This information could lead to money laundering charges against him as well, says a source in the Interior Ministry, for Blic.

“The money from Swiss banks was channeled into other businesses, through several firms owned by Subotic in the EU. Latest intelligence shows that a major part of the money was transferred through Subotic’s firms in Germany and Luxembourg,” says our source.

Subotic’s money has been investigated by a special Serbian police group during the last couple of months.

Eternally targeted by the media: Stanko Subotic
Photo: Stock

“We have been carrying out an extensive operation in cooperation with other countries to establish where Subotic’s secret bank accounts are. The police forces of several European countries have helped us a great deal. As a result we have managed to find out exactly what Subotic did with his money, not only during the mid 90s, when he was sending money from cigarette smuggling to Cyprus, but also the millions of Euros, which he subsequently earned through other businesses,” says the Blic source.

He says Subotic built an empire from money earned through tobacco smuggling. “This is money made from straight up crime which was laundered through offshore companies,” he explains.

Subotic transferred cash in foreign currency earned from cigarette smuggling through his collaborators, Milan Rankovic, Djordje Subotic and Nenad Lukic. The money was sent to Cyprus through Montenegro and Macedonia where it was deposited in secret bank accounts in Limassol. The money was then laundered through his firms Dulwich and Fermamarketing in Cyprus.

Subotic used this money to open new companies and entered the world of big business. He owns half the capital of the firm Futura Plus, through his EMI Group, registered in Denmark. Through this law firm, he owns two Belgrade based firms Duvan and D Trade, which also distributes wine from the Louis Max winery. He also owns three exclusive shops and two warehouses in the center of Belgrade, a commercial building and a warehouse in Ub, a warehouse in Novi Sad, four distribution centers and two duty free shops at border crossings. A sister company of the firm is Dulw-Trade, responsible for business in Montenegro. It is the biggest importer of alcoholic beverages in Montenegro.

Milo is Protecting Cane! (Press, 6 Dec 2007; by: N.N)

The regime of Milo Djukanovic is now openly protecting the fugitive from justice, businessman Stanko Subotic Cane, even though Interpol has issued a Red Notice for his arrest! The Montenegrins are persistently ignoring evidence that Cane is in Montenegro and are refusing to cooperate with the Serbian police, say Press sources within top government circles.

It was confirmed to us by Interior Ministry sources that the Serbian police had repeatedly presented video recordings and photographs showing Subotic at his house on Sveti Stefan and a few other locations in Montenegro to Podgorica. The Montenegrins, however, refused to take any concrete steps each time.

“We presented video recordings of Subotic to our Montenegrin counterparts several times. We would literally send them two hour old pictures of Cane sitting with his friends on Sveti Stefan. They would thank us politely saying that they would check it out, and after a couple of days report that they had checked the information and established that Subotic was not on the territory of Montenegro! Our inside sources would immediately make new photographs, and the Montenegrins would again pretend they didn’t know anything! And so forth…” a top police source describes the situation. He says it is “perfectly clear” that the Montenegrin government is protecting Subotic.

“Since becoming a fugitive from justice, Cane spends 99% of his time in Montenegro. According to our information, he has made short visits to Switzerland, but very cautiously. In Montenegro, however, he feels totally comfortable…” says our embittered source. The Montenegrin police administration told us yesterday that it was true that a few times information given by the Serbian police had been checked out, but it had been established that Subotic was not on their territory?!

“In order to verify certain information, the police undertook a number of steps to possibly locate and apprehend Subotic. Verification, search of various facilities and other operational, tactical and technical measures and steps have negated such information and allegations,” says a report made available to Press.

Minister Dragan Jocic says that Serbia will turn to Interpol for help in the apprehension and extradition of Stanko Subotic.

“The police are looking for Subotic, just as they are looking for many other wanted individuals. This is why we expect from the country where he is, to hand him over to Serbia. Interpol has issued a Red Notice for his arrest. We will approach the countries where we think he might be. We hope that they will act in accordance with the rules of international cooperation and hand him over to Serbia,” said Jocic.

Subotic’s lawyer Vlada Pavicevic claims that the entire process from the very start was illegal.

“As his lawyer I was never allowed to receive a copy of the documents on the basis of which charges were filed against him. Furthermore, since 2000 I have made at least ten offers to the police to interrogate him but they refused each time. And of course I know where my client is but I cannot reveal this information!” says Pavicevic.

Villa Hides Secrets (Vecernje Novosti, 7 Dec 2007; by: C.Prelevic, M.Jovanovic)

Stanko Subotic Cane, charged with tobacco smuggling in Serbia, has not been seen since May this year in Montenegro or on the island of Sveti Stefan, where he has a luxurious villa. Earlier on Sveti Stefan, Subotic received an award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences for his Villa Montenegro, where he too lived temporarily. The recognition was given to him at a reception which was attended by Montenegrin politicians Milo Djukanovic and Svetozar Marovic.

From the beginning of the summer, when the Serbian special prosecution for organized crime began its investigation against Subotic, it has been said that he is in Montenegro, where he has property and most probably businesses as well.  According to the latest information going around in the “well informed” circles of Belgrade, Cane is on Sveti Stefan, living in his luxury villa, allegedly under some kind of house arrest. Certain media announced that the Serbian police had repeatedly asked the Montenegrin police to handover Stanko Subotic, on the basis of “factual evidence” – photographs of him on Sveti Stefan and some other places in Montenegro. Unofficially, the Montenegrin police checked out the information each time and informed Belgrade that Subotic was not in Montenegro.

Constant accusations from Serbia: Milo Djukanovic
Photo: EPA

The Novosti team has verified that Villa Montenegro, despite its frequently locked gates, is working normally and has many guests, even though it is not holiday season.

On our visit yesterday we did not notice any particular security measures around the villa. The gate was locked, but a receptionist appeared in response to the doorbell. She explained that the villa was working round the clock, that there were quite a few guests staying there, but that she did not know who the owner was. She said that the director was not there and only he could talk to journalists. Asked if the villa was in the ownership of Subotic, she replied,

“I cannot say anything about that. I only know that the hotel is owned by a company in Budva.”

Everybody in the delightfully lovely neighborhood says that the villa belongs to Cane. But nobody remembers when he was last seen there. It seems that nobody on Sveti Stefan feels like talking about Subotic. One person we approached almost whispered that sometimes at night expensive cars with tinted windows could be seen coming and going…

From the beginning of the investigation in Serbia, Subotic has spoken out only once in Montenegro. That was at the end of June, when he responded to statements by leader of the PZP Nebojsa Medojevic regarding links between illegally obtained capital and the privatization process in Montenegro. Since summer, there has been no mention of Subotic.

Cane Did Smuggle Cigarettes After All (Kurir, 11 Dec 2007; by: I.C.L)

Businessman Stanko Subotic Cane and former customs director Mihalj Kertes planned and organized cigarette smuggling from 1995 to the end of 1996 on the territory of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SRJ). This is the conclusion of the special prosecution which investigated the role of these two individuals in tobacco smuggling.

Charges by the prosecution say that Subotic organized the purchase of cigarettes from his foreign partners, and then imported them into the country unofficially. This part of the job was done with the help of Kertes. Allegedly, in league with Subotic, the head of the crime group, Kertes provided fake customs documentation to import the cigarettes through a phantom company Sakses.

The other method for smuggling they used was the registration of trailer trucks belonging to Subotic’s firm Mia, in transit through the SRJ. Goods from the trucks, escorted by customs employees chosen by Kertes, were then stored in unregistered warehouses in Futog and Rumenka. Goods from the warehouses were later sold for cash, without any documentation or the payment of duties or taxes. Charges say that Subotic thus earned for himself and the members of his crime group 56 million Deutsche Marks and around $8 million.

The former head of customs personally arranged an escort for the trailer trucks each time, right up to their final destination. Kertes formed a group of customs employees, mainly consisting of his relatives and friends, who would wait for the trucks on the border with vehicles with police registration plates.

Members of the group split the money. Subotic used to take his share of the profit outside the country, without any documentation. Former head of the Novi Sad police administration Miodrag Zavisic and former head of the DB in Novi Sad Milan Popivoda were responsible for ensuring that cigarettes came in unhindered, and warehouses were not checked.

Stanko Subotic is a fugitive from justice. Interpol has issued a Red Notice for his arrest. Mihalj Kertes pleads not guilty saying that everything he did was legal. Charges have been filed against 13 other individuals as well, who were mainly responsible for delivering the goods, planning further distribution and guarding the warehouses. Most of the defendants have pleaded not guilty. 

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