Serbia real estate – Apartman Beograd Wed, 05 Jan 2022 02:03:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Serbia real estate – Apartman Beograd 32 32 Southampton accepts £ 100million buyout by Serbian media mogul Tue, 04 Jan 2022 16:54:37 +0000

Southampton have become the last English Premier League side to change hands, with Serbian media mogul Dragan Šolak agreeing to a buyout deal that values ​​the club up to £ 250million.

Šolak, founder and chairman of European telecommunications and media company United Group, has acquired an 80 percent stake in the club, its investment vehicle, Sport Republic, noted Tuesday.

The deal gives the club an enterprise value of £ 200-250million, including debt, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Sky News first reported the deal.

Šolak acquires the stake of Chinese real estate tycoon Gao Jisheng, who has controlled the club since 2017. Gao’s decision to get rid of his stake continues the trend of Chinese owners to sell European clubs and shows how the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the buyout activity in the Premier League.

The deal follows the acquisition of Newcastle United for £ 305million by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and Czech tycoon Daniel Kretinsky’s investment in West Ham United late last year.

Šolak will pay £ 100million for the 80 percent stake in Southampton, with Katharina Liebherr keep the remaining 20 percent, according to people familiar with the matter.

Henrik Kraft, Chairman of Sport Republic and former partner of private equity firm KKR, said: “Although Southampton is Sport Republic’s first acquisition, we expect further investments to follow over the next few years. Our ambition is to build a portfolio of holdings with strong influence in football clubs and other sporting assets around the world.

United Group, majority owned by private equity firm BC Partners since March 2019, has the media rights to broadcast the Premier League in most of the Balkans, including Serbia, this season.

State rival Telekom Srbija is ready to take on the rights of 2022/23 in a six-season contract, however. Šolak is Chairman of the Advisory Board of United Group.

Southampton, which plays its home games in the 32,384-seat St Mary’s Stadium in the south of England, is in 14th place in the Premier League. There are 20 clubs in the competition.

The team have played in the country’s top division since being promoted to 2012, but have never won the Premier League title. He beat Manchester United in the 1976 FA Cup final.

Companies House filings showed Southampton’s pre-tax loss widened to almost £ 76million in the 2019/20 season, from £ 41million the year before, as the revenue fell to £ 126million from £ 144million, coinciding with the cancellation of matches due to the pandemic.

Southampton is one of several clubs to have borrowed funds from MSD Partners, a football lender linked to IT billionaire Michael Dell, through the holding company St Mary’s Football Group. The £ 78.8million loan had already been disclosed in his accounts. MSD has also loaned to Burnley and West Ham, two other clubs where high stakes have recently changed hands.

Additional reporting by Marton Dunai

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The best RFE / RL surveys of the year Sun, 26 Dec 2021 15:05:03 +0000

There is a problem with the remote and sprawling network of pipelines and pumping stations that helps Russia move its vast oil resources, making it the world’s second-largest exporter of crude.

People are stealing oil.

And it’s not just ordinary citizens: they are sophisticated organized criminal groups, operating under the protection of law enforcement agents, including Russia’s main security agency, the FSB, siphoning off oil using illegal taps and pipes, pumping liquid booty from pipelines into tankers or river barges.

And it’s not just a few barrels.

According to one estimate, by state bank VTB Capital, up to $ 3.5 billion is lost each year due to oil theft. Losses for the Russian budget? As much as $ 1.2 billion a year.

This extraordinary discovery came from the exclusive work of the Russian Service of RFE / RL.

The great heist of Russian oil

It is one of more than a dozen major surveys conducted this year throughout Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and South and Central Asia by RFE / RL reporters.

In which European cities have politically connected insiders in Kazakhstan put their money? Who was actually behind the unsolved macabre murders of Iranian intellectuals around the world between 1988 and 1998?

Here are some of the other highlights of RFE / RL’s investigative work over the past year.

The gruesome murder of an iconic Iranian dissident

When German police entered the Bonn apartment on August 6, 1992, they found the body of a famous Iranian artist, poet and dissident who had fled his home country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

It was quite shocking to find a switchblade in Fereydoun Farrokhzad’s shoulder and another knife in his mouth. What was worse: The stove burners had been left on for days, heating up the kitchen and, indeed, cooking his rotting corpse.

A two-year survey by Radio Farda from RFE / RL revealed that German police believed Farrokhzad’s murder – one in a series of murders and disappearances of Iranian dissidents around the world – bore the hallmark of Iranian intelligence services. It remains unresolved nearly three decades later.

A former Iranian intelligence agent also told Farda that Iranian security services deployed another Iranian emigrant who was acquainted with Farrokhzad to carry out the murder.

The results did not only subject the underground work of Iranian intelligence teams to new scrutiny. They also renewed attention to the life of Farrokhzad, a figure who broke the norms and taboos of Iranian society, including speaking openly about his sexuality – and was a vocal critic of the Iranian clerical regime.

From Budapest to Zakarpatska

For more than a decade, starting in 2011, the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – and public funds allied to his political party – have sent hundreds of millions of euros to Hungarian diaspora communities in countries of Eastern Europe: Slovakia, Romania, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia.

And Ukraine.

About 150,000 ethnic Hungarians live in the western Zakarpattia region, which borders Hungary. The problem took on a political tinge there, as some local Hungarians grew angry at government regulations on the use of languages ​​other than Ukrainian, especially in education.

Ukrainian security services, meanwhile, have raided Hungarian cultural groups in the past, alleging allusions to a separatist movement.

Rely on the numbers first compiled by a consortium of journalistic organizations in Eastern Europe, the investigation unit – managed by the Ukrainian service of RFE / RL in cooperation with UA: Pershy television – discovered that the Hungarian public fund known as Bethlen Gabor sent 115 million euros to Hungarian ethnic communities in western Ukraine.

Some of the funding seemed benign – for example, the renovation of kindergartens where Hungarian Ukrainians can teach their children the Hungarian language and culture. Other funding has a more political tinge: for example, the funding of billboards for a Hungarian ethnic political party that has become more nationalist in recent years.

“When such money is invested, it certainly presupposes influence and loyalty,” an expert told RFE / RL.

The big houses, the deep pockets of the Kazakh elite

Prior to his resignation from the presidency in 2017, Nursultan Nazarbayev was the sole ruler of Kazakhstan. As the country’s first post-Soviet president, he was an unrivaled figure who presided over the remarkable growth in prosperity of the Central Asian nation – growth fueled in large part by its enormous reserves of oil and gas.

But the new prosperity came more often to political insiders and those close to Nazarbayev, who parked their millions – often accumulated under questionable circumstances – in mansions and villas abroad.

Over the past two decades, those close to Nazarbayev have bought hundreds of millions of dollars in posh real estate in Europe and the United States: a constellation of upscale properties on luxurious lakeside, amid skyscrapers. -sky Manhattan, the tony suburbs of London and overlooking the azure waters of the Spanish Costa Brava.

RFE / RL identified at least $ 785 million in real estate purchases in Europe and the United States made by Nazarbayev’s family members and their in-laws in six countries over a 20-year period.

The figure includes a handful of properties that have since been sold, including multi-million dollar apartments in the United States bought by Nazarbayev’s brother Bolat. It does not include a large Spanish estate owned by Nazarbayev’s son-in-law, Timur Kulibaev, for which no purchase price could be found.

The findings provide an unprecedented window into the scale of real estate investments by those close to Nazarbayev and the number of people close to the ruling Kazakhstan family who have found themselves with luxury assets in exclusive locations.

“It is difficult to separate the government from the [Nazarbaev] family, ”a longtime Kazakh rights expert told RFE / RL.

Blackmail, rape, suicide in Central Asia

The global webcam industry – where customers around the world pay people, women or men, to chat, undress, and often perform sex acts on camera – generates billions of dollars every year.

In Central Asia, the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, and the economic capital of neighboring Kazakhstan, Almaty, have become regional hubs for webcam studios.

In Kyrgyzstan, up to 5,000 young women are thought to work as “webcam models”, many of whom are trying to make ends meet in a country where nearly a third of the population lives in poverty.

A RFE / RL Kyrgyz Service survey explored how many of these women are essentially drawn into some sort of modern day slavery and face abuse, blackmail and, in some cases, rape.

Many women are afraid to go to the police, fearing that they will be exploited or extorted for money.

“There are so many young women whose parents are sick, who have disabled children. They really need the money,” said one woman who has since quit working in the webcam industry.

Manganese Mayhem in Georgia

It’s one of Georgia’s largest industrial operations: a massive manganese mine in a western district that activists and locals say has caused large-scale pollution and environmental damage for years. .

The Georgian Manganese LLC ore mine in the town of Chiatura also happens to be controlled by a group of companies closely linked to the Georgian Dream political party, which has dominated the country’s politics since 2012.

With previous ownership going back to a dark American company owned by a Ukrainian billionaire, Georgian Manganese LLC has been fined hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years from regulators – fines that have been mysteriously reduced.

The company has been the subject of numerous allegations of labor violations.

Georgian service of RFE / RL spent months digging through company registers, property records and regulatory records to show how the group of companies linked to Georgian Dream conspired to take control of the mine while flouting environmental regulations – to the detriment of neighboring villagers.

The secret refuge of the Uzbek president in the mountains

Exactly a month after taking the oath of office as Uzbekistan’s second ruler since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, President Shavkat Mirziyoev delivered a speech at a joint session of parliament.

His January 2017 speech touched on many issues, not the least of which is fiscal responsibility.

A few weeks after the speech, however, Uzbek state-owned companies embarked on a secret project that raised serious questions about Mirziyoev’s sincerity: a secluded and exclusive mountain resort, including a new reservoir, which was built for the use of Mirziyoev.

The leisure complex was discovered as part of a multi-part investigation by the Uzbek service of RFE / RL, who spoke to many sources directly involved or familiar with the opaque funded project located on a protected biosphere reserve and isolated from the public by roadblocks and security personnel.

Two sources put the development cost at several hundred million dollars, though only a handful of publicly available official documents even refer to the complex and adjacent reservoir, which were largely completed in 2019.

The investigation also revealed part of the human cost of the project, including water disturbances experienced by villagers downstream and the displacement of a family known for its management of the region’s ecosystem.

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People on the Move: Parekh Joins Ares Commercial Real Estate Board of Directors | News Thu, 23 Dec 2021 08:39:19 +0000

NVELOP Real Estate, Goodman, Macquarie, DHL, Gateley Legal, Primevest Capital, BrickVest, Ares Commercial Real Estate, GTC

Ares Commercial Real Estate – Rebecca Parekh has been appointed to join the board of directors. Parekh’s appointment brings the board of directors from seven to eight members, including six independent members. Parekh is the co-founder and CEO of The Well, a series of wellness facilities. Previously, she was COO for Deepak Chopra Radical Well-Being. Prior to that, Parekh spent ten years at Deutsche Bank Securities. In addition, Parekh served on the Steering Committee of the Bank’s Women’s Network.

NVELOP Real EstateTorsten Könning joined the company as Director of Development, focusing on the acquisition and development of new logistics and light industrial properties across Germany. Könning has over 30 years of logistics supply chain and property development experience, the last 10 years with Good man. Emmanuel Ernst joins as Senior Director of Development, where he will also focus on the acquisition and development of new logistics and light industrial properties across Germany. Ernst brings over 10 years of experience in logistics development and asset management, with previous roles at DLH and SEGRO. Asma shabir joined as Head of Operations, where she will focus on maintaining operational best practices across the company. Shabir brings over 10 years of professional experience, including the last 5 years at Macquarie where she was recently part of the legal and governance team.

Gateley Legal – Lawyer in real estate funds Ravi Longia has been appointed to the position of corporate partner and head of investment funds. Longia’s appointment comes as Gateley Legal continues to expand its alternative assets and real estate offerings in response to growing demand for real estate fund advisory and transaction services from national real estate investment and development companies. and foreigners, fund managers and institutional investors.

Primevest Capital Partners – The pan-European investment manager appointed Frank Noah as head of capital formation to advance its growth in residential real estate, parking lots, digital infrastructure and smart city communications and other investment opportunities in related real asset sectors. Noé has approximately 17 years of experience in business development, capital markets and alternative investments and has joined Primevest since Brick Jacket where he was Sales Director.Noé previously worked at Zinsbaustein, Castlelake, Shinsei Bank, Golding Capital Partners and Ernst & Young.

CGV – The supervisory board of the real estate investment company has appointed Pedja petronijevic as director of development and Janos Gardai as COO. Petronijevic joined the group in 2008 as Technical Director for Serbia. He was promoted to Country Managing Director in 2012. Gárdai started his career in 1996 as a financial analyst at Autóvill Rt. Between 1997 and 1999 he worked as a financial controller and reporting manager at ERECO Rt. Subsequently , Gárdai joined White Star Real Estate (AIG / Lincoln), where for the past 22 years he has been involved in all aspects of real estate business in a variety of roles, from CFO to Director of Development and General Manager in Country. partner.

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Announces pan-European company agreement on solar energy Tue, 21 Dec 2021 06:00:00 +0000

21 December 2021, 7h00, Antwerp, Belgium: VGP NV (“VGP” or “the Group”), a European supplier of high quality logistics and semi-industrial real estate, will soon switch all its European offices to renewable energies, an agreement having been concluded with Scholt Energy BV, the independent energy supplier, and ACT Commodities BV, the European energy trading house, to purchase 100% renewable electricity for all of its European offices.

The Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) will provide power from VGP’s existing solar farm on the rooftops of VGP Park in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, to VGP offices across Europe . Nijmegen’s VGP solar farm today has a combined power output of almost 4,400 megawatt hours in total, of which 2,100 megawatt hours are currently used by local tenants. Of the remaining production, around 450 megawatt hours will be allocated to VGP offices across Europe and the remainder is offered for purchase to Dutch businesses and households by Greenchoice, the green energy supplier.

This agreement covers the 20 VGP offices in 13 countries1. In addition, there are plans to include the new VGP offices in France and Serbia next year as well.

Chairman and CEO of VGP, Jan Van Geet, noted: Like a world-class logistics real estate developer, we know that sustainable development is not just part of our business, it’s our business. From offer green leases to our new tenants, use circular building materials and eliminate unnecessary waste on our sites to support environmental projects through the VGP Foundation, we are continuously look for ways to reduce our environmental impact and aiming to ultimately have a net positive effect.

Jan Van Geet concluded: “This is why we are very happy today to announce this partnership with Scholt Energy and add new European solar capacity via additional photovoltaic projects on the roofs of VGP Parks. As we welcome the European Green Deal, we are now asking our customers, colleagues, business partners and other companies to join us in switching to renewable energy – we are committed to do our own 100% renewable electricity generated on the roofs of the VGP Parks available to our tenants when possible and hope we can all together support this positive change.

Rob van Gennip CEO of Scholt Energy, said: “Developers like VGP are a driving force in green energy transition and, with about the operational and real estate footprint of their clients, can help play a role in the fight against climate change through the supply of renewable energy sources. WWe are proud to support VGP in their renewable energy transition and to help make affordable, reliable and sustainable energy available in their offices across Europe. “

The operation will be performed for all VGP offices by January 1st 2022. For VGP offices in countries with existing Scholt Energy operations, the goal is to switch to new renewable energy contracts at the first contractual opportunity. Until then, ACT Commodities will provide VGP with local delivery of guarantees of origin for equivalent power consumption. Guarantees of origin will also be issued by ACT Commodities to VGP offices in countries where Scholt Energy cannot deliver energy directly.2.

As the solar farm on the roof of the VGP Nijmegen park is already operational, the supply of green energy can be established from 1 2022, however, as southern Europe benefits from higher solar radiation, it is planned to switch to delivery from photovoltaic installations on the roofs of VGP parks in Italy, which are currently still in the design phase. .


Martijn Vlutter
(VP – Business Development and Investor Relations)
Phone: +32 (0) 3 289 1433
Petra vanclova
(External communication)
Phone: +42 0 602 262 107
Anette Nachbar
Brunswick Group
Phone. : +49 152 288 10363


VGP is a pan-European developer, manager and owner of high quality logistics and semi-industrial real estate. VGP operates a fully integrated business model with long-standing capabilities and expertise across the value chain. The company has a development land reserve (owned or committed) of 10.49 million m² and the strategic focus is on the development of business parks. Founded in 1998 as a Belgian family-owned real estate developer in the Czech Republic, VGP, with a workforce of around 350 employees, owns and operates assets in 12 European countries directly and through several 50:50 joint ventures. As of June 2021, VGP’s net asset value, including 100% joint ventures, was EUR 4.48 billion and the company had a net asset value (EPRA NTA) of 1.51 billion euros. VGP is listed on Euronext Brussels (ISIN: BE0003878957).

For more information, please visit:

1 Offices in the following countries are covered: Belgium (HQ), Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Romania, Luxembourg (VGP Asset Management), Hungary, Slovakia, Portugal, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands and Austria
2 Scholt Energy is expected to supply energy directly to VGP offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria

  • VGP – Pan-European Solar Energy Agreement 20211221

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Murshed Al Redaini, Group CEO, Yas Holding Sun, 19 Dec 2021 03:30:00 +0000 Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.

You are reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international Entrepreneur Media franchise.

As the world prepares to welcome a New Year, Murshed Al Redaini, Group CEO at Yas Holding, is unwavering in his view that the UAE is poised for a period of unprecedented trade growth, and those who stay focused on the job at hand will be those who benefit.

Yas Holding

This is a conclusion Al Redaini drew from a wealth of knowledge and experience that sets him apart from his peers – after 15 years in the United Arab Emirates armed forces, he paved the way for several positions of management, including a move to C4 Advanced Solutions (now under EDGE Group, an umbrella technology company for the defense industry), before taking the management of Yas Holding, an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm with a portfolio of activities covering nine sectors, 7,500 employees and more than 60 subsidiary operations. “Under the leadership of our Board of Directors, we aim to transform the company into an agile, innovative and progressive organization in the years to come,” said Al Redaini, before emphasizing his pride in serving the United Arab Emirates. both in the military and in business. capacity. “These two experiences taught me that hard work and resilience, combined with a very structured approach, are at the heart of the results I have achieved. Teamwork and leadership must also go hand in hand. Ensuring that you are supported by a strong management team and surrounded by a strong talent pool is also a key factor.

Over the years, Yas Holding has grown into a leading investment company which has relied on acquisitions and investments to expand into a number of sectors such as food, agriculture, health, education, aviation, real estate, technology, services and others, as well as markets such as Serbia, Morocco, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt. Throughout 2021, Al Redaini explains that his team has focused on strengthening key areas of the Group through consolidation and expansion. “We have seen several of our companies optimize their costs, which has led us to focus again on these areas in order to increase market share,” he says. “We have also invested in the acquisition of new businesses that complement our existing value chains. In addition, we are seeing good traction in companies that operate in critical sectors of the economy, including food, health, education, technology and others.

As for the COVID-19 pandemic, Al Redaini credits the favorable and enabling environment created by UAE leaders for helping companies like his overcome the crisis. “Out of pride, Yas Holding was very active at the start of the crisis, working to deliver products and services to the country to avoid shortages,” Al Redaini adds. Going forward, Al Redaini says he will seek to expand the group’s platforms in health, food and agriculture. In addition, he believes that the Group’s technology companies are also poised for rapid growth in key sectors over the next few years. “For example, in edutech, we will continue to build innovative digital ecosystems that fuel education along a lifelong journey in large communities, ”he adds. “More generally, our team is always busy identifying and incubating new investment initiatives that expand our current product line or potentially increase capacity and market share in our core verticals. “

While reiterating that Yas Holding is always on the lookout for solid companies that complement its existing focus areas, Al Redaini mentions some of the group’s successes. In the food sector, it is his ultra-fresh dairy company Marmoum, which, he says, is rapidly developing a loyal consumer base. Meanwhile, in the edutech space, it refers to Yas Holding’s Nebras Education group of companies, whose platform, Learning space, works to transform education by enabling personalized learning paths. Entering the healthcare industry, Al Redaini turns our attention to Global One Healthcare Holding, whose activities span biopharmacy, manufacturing, medical supply chain, hospital and clinic management, healthcare technology, and workplace health and wellness. “After the onset of the global pandemic and unprecedented pressures on the healthcare system, the industry was faced with enormous challenges, but also with potential for growth,” notes Al Redaini. “In addition, our country’s strategic orientation in this sector has been a key driver for Yas Holding’s expansion and recent acquisitions. We are interested in three different healthcare verticals: the pharmaceutical and biotechnology value chain, hospital and patient care, and global healthcare technologies focused on investments in artificial intelligence and telemedicine. “

Related: Dubai-based Evakind champions sustainability in its e-commerce market

With this in mind, Yas Holding made three strategic acquisitions in 2021: Gulf Inject, Geltec Healthcare FZE and WellPharma Medical Solutions. “These serve to strengthen the UAE’s ambitions for self-sufficiency in this vital sector,” says Al Redaini. “Additionally, they add stability to our group’s broad distribution and supply chain model that penetrates through multiple channels, reaching customers, customers and consumers within the country and beyond. When asked for his point of view on the MENA entrepreneurial ecosystemAl Redaini describes it as an ideal launching pad for any aspiring entrepreneur. “The wave of progressive regulations and financial support over the past few years clearly underscores the importance that UAE leaders have placed in this area,” he said. “The UAE is leading the way in this regard by focusing on innovation, new technologies, skills development, etc. “

For all these reasons, Al Redaini states that the doors of Yas Holding are always open to entrepreneurs in the region whose activities align with the group’s growth plans in key verticals and focus areas, such as technology. , precision agriculture and supply chain innovation. “An example of a start-up that we have invested in is our acquisition of Farmbox, a specialty farm-to-fork online grocery business, which is now an award-winning platform stocking a highly specialized range of agricultural products. organic and fresh. , “he adds. As Yas Holding is a 100% UAE-owned company, Al Redaini and his team are naturally committed to the continued development and success of the UAE.

In addition, Al Redaini considers that the country has already placed itself at the forefront of growth in the region. “Our country has also been successful in building some of the world’s most beloved companies, especially in e-commerce and technology, with recent fundraising paving the way for examples to follow,” he said. declared. Starting a business in the United Arab Emirates is therefore something that he strongly recommends, especially in the areas of technological and digital platforms and services, artificial intelligence, automation, digitization and applications. “When starting a business, it is important to make sure that you have a well-articulated product or service offering and a clear target audience whose needs you will meet, in addition to the issues you will face. respond, ”says Al Redaini. “Keeping costs under control, managing cash flow, and raising funds for growth are all critical to long-term survival. “

With the UAE continuing to attract talent that will spearhead growth across the region, he is confident that now is the time to start a business in the UAE. “As we emerge from the pandemic, customers and clients alike are looking for solutions that allow them to maintain the agility and resilience acquired over the past difficult years, while capturing growth and new revenue streams that emerge.” , concludes Al Redaini.

The Executive Summary: Yas Holding Group CEO Murshed Al Redaini’s Tips for Entrepreneurs

Think sideways and focus on the details. “I’ve learned that no question is too small or irrelevant to ask. By asking simple questions, opportunities can be accelerated, because it is often the occasion to question the situation. “

Focus on the people. “Build a strong talent pool and support your team by leading the way. As CEO, I see myself as a facilitator. “

Be open to changes. “It’s important to monitor all aspects of the health of your business to make sure adjustments can be made in the most agile way possible. Learning and adapting as a team to these challenges as they arise will better prepare you for the unforeseen challenges that lie ahead. happen.”

Control the costs and growth of feed. “Invest in infrastructure that reduce costs over time and automate processes. Focus on areas of growth that leverage existing knowledge hubs or infrastructure that enables the exploitation of your company’s full value chain and market share, while maintaining operations and investments light and efficient futures.

Develop basic skills as well as transferable skills and knowledge. “As we have a number of core competencies, industry skills and capabilities, we are agile enough to respond to challenges as well as emerging opportunities across multiple verticals by focusing on innovation and technology as a ‘core skill sets. ”

Related: Empowering the Next Generation of Innovators: Fatima Al Naqbi, Innovation Director, UAE Ministry of Finance, on the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund

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How Serbian street art uses the past to shape the future – The Calvert Journal Tue, 14 Dec 2021 14:21:17 +0000

In an attempt to put an end to this political ping-pong game, the activist group Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) reportedly made several unsuccessful requests to state bodies to have the mural removed. In November, they finally lost patience and announced that its activists would remove the mural themselves. This, as might be expected, enraged local nationalists, who said they would protect him by any means necessary. On the night of November 9, there was a standoff between the two parties in front of the fresco. Riot police surrounded YIHR activists, preventing them from both vandalizing the mural and being kicked in the head by right-wing activists.

But this is not the only mural dedicated to Mladić in Belgrade. there is at least a handful in the capital and much more through Serbia and the ethnic Serbian enclave of Republika Srpska in Bosnia. Songs and banners celebrating Mladić can be spotted to football matches.

Many in Belgrade find his worship painful and unbearable. “Symbols which favorably represent convicted war criminals are intolerable in any civilized society. Ratko Mladić dishonored both Serbia and its army by committing crimes against a civilian population, ”says 28-year-old Marko Mihailović. He attended demonstrations of solidarity with two women who were forcibly arrested after throwing eggs at Mladic’s mural.

He attended the demonstration because “it was important for me to witness another symptom of the collapse of the rule of law in Serbia,” he said. “[That] could be seen in the hundreds of cops who were mobilized to protect a single graffiti – which in itself is a misdemeanor [vandalism]. There would have been no need to demonstrate if the municipality, city or state had fulfilled its legal obligation to remove graffiti and other symbols of hatred.

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New MONEYVAL report on Serbia: improvements in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing led to rating upgrade, minor gaps remain Mon, 13 Dec 2021 08:57:00 +0000

Serbia has improved its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures, demonstrating significant progress in the level of compliance with FATF (Financial Action Task Force) standards, according to a new follow-up report published today by the Council of Europe anti-money laundering body MONEYVAL. The positive steps taken by the authorities have resulted in Serbia being upgraded from “partially compliant” to “broadly compliant” in four areas related to the activities of designated non-financial businesses and professions, as well as international cooperation. However, in the area of ​​new technologies, where new international requirements for virtual assets have been introduced, Serbia’s rating has been lowered.

Today’s review focused on Serbia’s AML / CFT (anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing) obligations for lawyers and notaries, entry requirements in the market for accountants and real estate agents, the international cooperation of financial supervisors. MONEYVAL has examined a series of legislative, regulatory and institutional measures introduced by Serbia in these areas, however, due to its procedural limitations, it has not assessed to what extent they have been effectively implemented in practice.

Among the positive developments marked by MONEYVAL is the extension of the scope of entities obliged to exercise vigilance with regard to clients to lawyers and notaries. In addition, the amended legislation now requires casinos to identify and verify the identity of the customer at the entrance, to obtain a written declaration from the customer certifying that he is participating in his name, and in the event of a single transaction or several interdependent transactions. greater than EUR 2,000 to perform customer due diligence in order to identify and verify the beneficial owner of the transaction. Previously identified gaps regarding the need for enhanced due diligence for high-risk countries, whistleblowing and confidentiality have also been addressed. Serbia has also taken the necessary measures in the area of ​​licensing of accountants and real estate agents with a view to preventing criminals and their associates from being professionally accredited and holding a significant / controlling stake or a managerial function. in these companies.

In the area of ​​international cooperation, financial supervisors are now clearly empowered to cooperate with their foreign counterparts; a general obligation has been imposed on the supervisory authorities to put in place appropriate safeguards and to respect confidentiality requirements.

However, some minor shortcomings remain, including the definition of beneficial owners, the record keeping requirements fulfilled by lawyers and notaries, as well as the application of countermeasures proportionate to the risks identified.

The monitoring report also examines the implementation of the new international requirements for virtual assets, which cover, among others, the most important virtual currencies and the providers of these assets. While MONEYVAL has made significant progress in implementing the new requirements for virtual assets, it has also discovered strategic gaps, and Serbia’s rating on the implementation of this updated recommendation has been lowered by “Largely compliant” to “partially compliant”.

Overall, Serbia has succeeded in meeting MONEYVAL’s general expectation that countries have corrected most – if not all – technical compliance deficiencies within five years of the adoption of the mutual evaluation report. . The court has fully complied with five of the 40 FATF recommendations constituting the international AML / CFT standard. Serbia retains minor shortcomings in the implementation of 34 recommendations for which it was rated “broadly compliant”. One recommendation (on new technologies) remains “partially complaint”. Serbia does not have a “non-compliant” rating.

Serbia will report to MONEYVAL on the progress made to strengthen its implementation of AML / CFT measures in two years.

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Kosovo Serbs close to Serbian leadership join US blacklist Thu, 09 Dec 2021 15:47:55 +0000

Authorities in Kosovo have welcomed the decision of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, to impose sanctions on controversial Serbian businessman from Kosovo, Zvonko Veselinovic, Milan Radoicic and 12 others.

According to OFAC, Veselinovic heads an organized criminal group “engaged in a large-scale corruption program with security officials from Kosovo and Serbia who facilitate the illicit trafficking of goods, money, drugs and weapons between Kosovo and Serbia ”.

Its press release states that the sanctioned group “also conspired with various politicians in several counterpart deals, including the early 2019 bribery of Kosovar security officials to allow their smuggling operations between Serbia and Kosovo and end corruption. 2017 of Kosovar border security officials to allow the safe passage of smugglers ”.

Collectively, the blacklisted individuals and businesses are referred to as Specially Designated Nationals or SDNs. Their assets are frozen, and Americans are generally prohibited from doing business with them.

Radoicic, leader of Srpska Lista, the Kosovo Serb party remotely controlled by the ruling Progressive Party in Serbia, and Veselinovic, a well-known businessman, are often seen as obscure rulers in northern Kosovo ruled by the Serbs. Serbs.

Both are considered suspects by Kosovo authorities for the 2018 murder of Kosovo Serb opposition politician Oliver Ivanovic, a case also mentioned by OFAC. In his last interview with BIRN, Ivanovic described Radoicic as a “key figure in an intimidating power system in northern Kosovo”.

For years, the couple have been involved in state-supported projects and enjoyed the support of the Serbian Progressive Party, led by Aleksandar Vucic, also President of Serbia.

In 2019, BIRN released photographs of Radoicic and Veselinovic with the Serbian President’s witness Nikola Petrovic and of Veselinovic with Vucic’s brother Andrej at the Progressive Party headquarters. Vucic defended Radoicic after Ivanovic’s murder and provided him with a safe haven in Serbia.

But the ties of these men extended far beyond the Serbian Progressive Party.

In 2015, BIRN uncovered evidence that Veselinovic was transporting equipment for a company owned by prominent Kosovo Albanians linked to the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK.

The goods were sold to US construction giant Bechtel and its Turkish partner Enka, the main contractor hired to build Kosovo’s largest infrastructure project, the Pristina-Tirana highway.

BIRN also discovered that Veselinovic was transporting rocks from the Arena Invest quarry in northern Kosovo, until the roads were blocked by the barricades he helped create.

Arena Invest is owned by three prominent Kosovar Albanians: the former Kosovar Ambassador to Washington, the owner of the former Prime Minister and President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, and a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, as well as a Serbian politician from Kosovo.

In 2017, while prime minister, Haradinaj met Radoicic. Two years later, he said Radoicic was also received by former President Thaci in his office.

Despite this, Haradinaj praised the sanctions imposed by the United States on the two men, calling them “excellent news”. He said: “The decision will help our mission to fight transnational crime in Kosovo and the Western Balkans. “

Prime Minister Albin Kurti also welcomed the sanctions, calling them proof that crime in northern Kosovo is a daily reality that violates the law and the rights and freedoms of citizens.

Also reacting to the imposed US sanctions, Serbian President Vucic downplayed the progressives’ relationship with the men, saying they had not received any money from his party and expressing doubts about what authorities would find out about their companies.

Vucic said they had nothing to do with the people on the sanctions list and “they didn’t give us [Progressives] one dinar ”.

“They [the US] accused them mainly of illegal trade… I won’t go into detail until I see what [the report] really said, and if there are serious charges, our state authorities will investigate them, ”Vucic said on Wednesday.

From “bridge watchman” to company manager

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Serbian government drops contested changes to expropriation law after protests Thu, 09 Dec 2021 11:18:00 +0000

BELGRADE (Serbia), Dec.9 (SeeNews) – The Serbian government has said it has withdrawn from parliament the controversial draft amendments to the expropriation law that have sparked protests across the country, with protesters claiming that the proposed changes would pave the way for foreign mining companies. projects that would cause irreversible damage to the environment.

“The government of the Republic of Serbia will analyze whether amendments to the law on expropriation are necessary and, if it is determined that the law needs to be amended, this will be done through a broad public debate involving associations professionals, businesses and civil society, ”the government said in a statement Wednesday.

Prior to the cabinet decision, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic referred amendments to the Expropriation Law to parliament for reconsideration.

“They passed a law in which one thing I had a problem with, and that is the incredibly short deadlines given to the owner of real estate, whether it is land or a house,” Vucic said. at a press conference on Wednesday.

Over the past two Saturdays, thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest the planned changes, blocking main roads at more than 50 locations. They claimed the proposed amendments would allow foreign mining companies to pollute Serbia’s land and water, targeting the Rio Tinto lithium mining project in the Jadar region of western Serbia.

Protest organizers said no new protests would take place next Saturday if parliament repeals the proposed changes, local media reported.

“The government has accepted all the demands of the protests, and if the parliament passes them, there will be no protests on Saturday,” the Nova news site said, citing Savo Manojlovic, founder of the local initiative “Go- Exchange”.

Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto, which is developing the $ 2.4 billion (€ 2.1 billion) Jadar lithium project, has so far obtained an exploration permit from the Serbian authorities. The company plans to complete construction of an underground mine at the Jadar project site in 2026 and reach full production capacity in 2029.

During Vucic’s visit to the Jadar region, residents expressed their concerns about the potentially harmful impact of the project on the environment, particularly in terms of waste management.

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Vui: “I sent the expropriation law back to Parliament, the referendum law needs to be revised” – PoliticsEnglish Wed, 08 Dec 2021 19:37:00 +0000

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic addressed the audience from the Serbian Palace on Wednesday evening.

Source: B92

Printskrin: TV Prva

The address was dedicated to current events and to the Rio Tinto company.

“The previous two years and the previous seven years are some of the years in which we can boast of the rapid development of our country, our growth rate will be 2.7%. We plan to open two chapters or a cluster by December 14th. Serbia may be the only country to open new chapters, “said Vucic.

“I am proud of all the results we have achieved, but I know that we could have done even more without the laziness of some people, but also with the bureaucratic problems that we faced,” he said.

“As for the law itself, as I have said in previous speeches, and despite the fact that I am one of the few presidents to have sent laws to the assembly, like the water law” , did he declare.

“Something happened which in the desire, as I understood people in the government, to pass the best law possible, they passed a law in which one thing gave me a problem, and that is the incredibly delays. courts given to the owner of real estates, be it land or a house, ”he said.

“It was not unconstitutional, the law has not been the subject of public debate, due to the COVID crisis, which is unacceptable,” Vucic said.

“I saw the loopholes of ministers in taking over responsibilities that did not belong to them.”

“I made a decision and signed this decision on returning the law on amendments to the law on expropriation to parliamentary procedure,” he said.

“There was a possibility of interpretation that the law could be overturned, due to Article 58 of the Constitution, where property rights are violated. Although in many EU countries they even do so after 8 days, I certainly think the timelines are incredibly tight, “said Vucic.

This means that the law amending the Expropriation Law has been referred to the Assembly. Tonight or tomorrow, they can make the decision to withdraw the law. My proposal to the government of the Republic of Serbia is not to adopt a new law on expropriation, but rather to make it one of the broadest public debates, ”he said.

He also blamed the ministers who, as he said, did not bother to organize a broad debate on the expropriation law and did not visit the area most affected by a potential mine. to talk to people there.

I signed the referendum law

“I signed the referendum law, there is nothing unconstitutional in this law,” he said of the popular referendum law.

“Everyone will say it is Vui’s defeat, but I am the president of all citizens and my job is to take care of all citizens,” he said.

“I know there are a lot of citizens, wonderful, ordinary people who are worried,” he said.

“While it’s not part of my skill, I accept it as part of my guilt,” Vucic says.

“I listened to the people of Gornje Nedeljice, this is my address to them. The people are 5,000 people and less, but it’s not just those 5,000, I would fight for one man. listened to them, I saw how painful it is for them, my job is to listen to them, so I speak to them, first of all, ”explained Vucic.

“Everyone knows it’s not my fault, I didn’t bring Rio Tinto, but I eat myself from the inside out because I didn’t pay enough attention to it, I thought other people ‘cared,’ he added.

“Roadblocks are so harmful; I want to apologize to people ”

“Here we have responded to all requests, and you know why? They say Vui is afraid, wants to preserve the government,” he said.

“We will accept all requests, because the blockade of the highways is causing us great damage. It is not good for the image of our country. And I am proud that the police did not use water cannons. we have a fragile democracy and we must protect it, ”he said.

“I want to tell the citizens of Serbia that no one is working against them. I want to tell them that I do not intend to do anything against their interests,” he said.

“I want to apologize to all the citizens who suffered the terror of irresponsible people, and those who were beaten in illegally organized protests, I apologize to the elderly who suffered, I apologize because the state did not do its job and did not protect them, he said during the remarks.

“But that is the whole price of democracy. We must fight for the country to move forward. The people will assess each of us in the period to come,” he said.

“I really tried. We responded to all the requests they made, although some were, in my opinion, a political whim. And then you will see that the policy is behind everything. But it was important. to me that we are meeting the needs of ordinary people and I care about them more than anything, ”Vucic said.

Vui thanked the citizens for their patience and the people who have shown their strength, and called on political opponents to compete on April 3.

“Those who are tired do not need to be ministers. They can spend the little time they have left serving the people,” he said.

“I have been angry countless times that we have not explained the medical treatment of children to people,” he said.

“I apologize for not having visited eight thousand five hundred villages”

“I am the man who I think most often visited all places in Serbia. I was in Loznica and Krupanj area several times, I was officially 26 or 27 times, only in these two places. “I worked hard on the floods, we helped. Do you know the names of the rivers in the Loznica region? I know, because I have been there 11 times,” he said.

“I apologize for not having been able to visit eight thousand five hundred villages in Serbia,” he said.

Vucic has denied giving in to the protests, although he claimed earlier that the streets would not rule politics in Serbia.

“As for street protests, they take place every year,” he said.

In the end, he said he was happy that the citizens’ demands were met, but that he knew there were those who were happy because they saw it as his defeat.

It should be recalled that on the eve of the speech, the government of the Republic of Serbia took the decision in tonight’s session to withdraw the law on expropriation from parliamentary procedure.

He said he pledged to the government to make some changes to the referendum law, which he signed to meet demands from thousands of people who protested over the past two weekends against the two laws.

During the same session, the government proposed to the National Assembly amendments to the law on the referendum and popular initiative, in articles 7, 20, 43 and 44. The articles mentioned refer to the certification of signatures, representatives of the author authorized in the referendum body calling for a referendum, and on the deadline for recalling the referendum.

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