Serbia Arrests More Suspects in Agrobanka Affair

Police arrest more suspects in the case of the state-owned bank as Deputy PM Vucic warns that investigation is far from over.Serbian police arrested three more suspects on Wednesday as the investigation into the Agrobanka case continued.

Stevan Alavanja, Bojan Simonovic and Predrag Vuckovic are suspected of abusing their positions and damaging the state-owned bank by receiving favourable loans for 2.3 billion dinar [about 20 million euro].

The National Bank revoked Agrobanka’s licence in May when it was discovered that the bank was 300 million euro in debt.

Its obligations and deposits were then taken over by Nova Agrobanka, founded by the former Democrat-led government.

The new government has pledged to get to the bottom of the Agrobanka affair.

In August, police arrested 11 suspects including the former president of the board of directors, Dusan Antonic, and his son, Milan.

Aleksandar Vucic, the first Deputy Prime Minister in charge of corruption, said the investigation was being extended to include five more persons, and will not wind up soon.

“This action is part of the anti-corruption investigations that are underway and this is not the end of the Agrobanka case,” Vucic said on Wednesday.

“The Agrobanka probe will be extended today to five more persons, three of whom have been arrested and more are to follow,” Vucic added.

He warned that the case would not be over soon, and an efficient completion of the investigations was needed before the trial follows shortly.

“This is an octopus with many tentacles, which is yet to show the manner in which systemic corruption operated in Serbia,” Vucic said.

Meanwhile, parliament started discussing a draft law on the state takeover of the property and liabilities of certain banks, including Agrobanka, in order to preserve the stability of the financial system.

According to the draft law, taking property and liabilities would be carried out by contracts concluded between the transferor bank and the bank that takes over all or part of the property and liabilities.

The take-over bank would be entitled to financial support from the state budget and the takeover would not require the consent of shareholders and other creditors.

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