Serbian MP: Serb arms dealer donated tractors to Kosovo Serbs to win license to export weapons to Armenia

Two farmers from a village in the north of Kosovo were gifted tractors on March 8th 2 2018; a day earlier, a passenger van with nine seats was given to a hospital in Serb village of Pasjane in the south of Kosovo. Finally, on March 18th, a tractor was delivered to another village in Metohija, as was promised by the President of Serbia after paying a visit to Kosovo following the assassination of Oliver Ivanovic. All these donations were provided by a businessman from Belgrade – Slobodan Tesic. Serbian MP Marinika Tepic, claimed Slobodan Tesic received licenses for the export of weapons to Armenia, only a few months later. „A classic example of influence trading,“ Tepic said, N1 reported. Tesic was on the US blacklist at the time due to his corrupt practices, the famous Serb whistleblower, Aleksandar Obradovic said to Al Jazeera.

On January 20, four days after the assassination of Oliver Ivanovic, the President of Serbia visited Kosovo and promised aid to the people, including tractors.

Only two months later, the keys to the new tractors, as well as the vans, provided by Slobodan Tesic, were presented by the Presidency Secretary, Nikola Selakovic, Assistant Directors of the Kosovo Office, Dusan Kozarev and Petar Petkovic.

According to MP Marinika Tepic’s allegations, this donation, described by Selakovic as “solidarity, an echo of the visit of the President of the Republic”, was quickly followed by favor in return.

Tesic, the founder of the company Vektura, received licenses for arms exports to Armenia a few months after presenting his donations. „The same permits that were denied to Valjevo-based Krusik,“ Tepic said.

„A service for a service. A businessman from Belgrade donates necessary aid to the people from Kosovo on behalf of Aleksandar Vucic, and in turn, Krusik loses its contracted job and that job is awarded to Slobodan Tesic’s company. So, an eclectic, classic example of influence trading,“ she stressed.

Tepic also claimed that in addition to exporting weapons to Armenia, Tesic traded in Libya, which is currently under a United Nations trade embargo.

„I have serious clues and insights and let me protect my sources,“ she added, referring to an „honorable part of the military“.

Marinika Tepic also presented new photos of weapons packed for export. She claimed that they were allegedly made at Belgrade’s airport. „These are missiles and I would very much like to know who exported these weapons from Krusik to Afghanistan,“ she said.

Tepic has been holding press conferences in the National Assembly Hall every Tuesday and presenting new findings from the Krusik affair. The Serbian investigative media, primarily BIRN and NIN weekly, as well as Insajder who was among the first to write about Slobodan Tesic, have been reporting extensively on the affair.

Whistleblower Aleksandar Obradovic, a Krusik employee, alerted the public to what he sees as a robbery of this Serbian industry, after gathering evidence for the past five years. Following his arrest on September 18th, he has been under house arrest since October for allegedly revealing an official secret. Obradovic was released following public pressure, who learned of it only 20 days after his detention.

Authorities, the SNS and the president of Serbia harshly deny all allegations.

In the most recent interview with Al Jazeera, he also mentioned that Tesic provided aid in the form of „two tractors and vans“ to Serbs from Kosovo. Obradovic said that Tesic was on a US blacklist at the time because of his corrupt practices, and that he subsequently received a job that was previously denied to Krusik – for the same product and the same customer in Armenia.

„I was particularly intrigued by the connection of our President of the Republic, whether it was a coincidence or not, which happened in April 2018. The Secretary-General of the President of the Republic, Nikola Selakovic, accompanied by the Deputy Director of the Kosovo Office, Dusan Kozarev, visited Kosovo on April 7 and 8 (cf. March), where he presented a donation made by a successful businessman. The donation was in the form of two tractors and a van. I welcome the donation – certainly the people of Kosovo need this help, but the successful businessman who presents himself as such is Slobodan Tesic – one of the biggest arms dealers in the Balkans, a man whom the US administration blacklisted just three months ago for violating human rights and corrupt activities. Shortly thereafter, Slobodan Tesic and his company entered into an agreement with a customer from Armenia, although that contract had previously been signed by the Krusik company for an identical product. Krusik concluded a contract with an identical customer. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as one actor in the licensing chain, did not approve Krusik’s license, and only a few days later, Slobodan Tesic, together with his firm, received the license. When you look at it all, when you see that the President’s immediate connections, the Ministry of Defense’s blindness and silence, when you see that both the current BIA director and his family are somehow involved in the arms trade, when you see the police ministry, you wonder who you should contact,“ Obradovic said.

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