A year after KRIK published a story about 24 apartments connected to Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali, Mali remains the director of the offshore companies through which he bought the flats. Actions launched against him by the Anti-Corruption Agency after this discovery are still underway.
By Dragana Pećo
The Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) revealed last October that Sinisa Mali was the director of two offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands that had purchased 24 apartments in the Saint Nicholas luxury resort in Bulgaria.
After KRIK’s discovery, Mali admitted that he had participated in the purchase of luxury properties, but has not revealed for whom they were purchased for.
Mali later claimed that his signature was forged in the documents that show him buying real estate, but he never presented evidence to support his claims. Courts in Burgas, the area where the apartments are located, informed KRIK that no proceedings for the falsification of signatures have been placed before them.
After the publication of the story about the 24 apartments, a lawyer that Mali had hired to submit papers on his behalf to the Bulgarian business register handed over the documents which say that the lawyer is the owner and director of offshore firms. The documents were rejected by the registry in July of this year.
The Anti-Corruption Agency launched an investigation after KRIK’s discovery to check whether Mali had reported all of his assets and incomes. Anti-Corruption officials soon after submitted a report to the prosecution in Mali’s case. Officials refused to comment to KRIK on the content of the report.
In a criminal complaint Mali’s former wife filed against him, it was stated that she was blackmailed to to falsify certain incomes of Mali as inheritance that she had received from her father.
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic earlier promised to the public that the case would be investigated to the end, and said that Sinisa Mali will not remain as mayor if it is determined that he is the director of offshore companies and that he had violated the law.
Wagons and country
In addition to research on the apartments in Bulgaria, KRIK journalists found some of Mali’s past business arrangements which paint a completely different picture of the mayor.
KRIK found that Mali’s family had illegally acquired 10 acres of state land near Vrsac . Although the owner of the privatized company that benefited from and disposed of state land in favor of the Mali family was sentenced, the family members of the mayor of Belgrade were not prosecuted.
In a series of studies on the mayor, KRIK found that Mali had used his position at the Agency for Privatization to help his father privatize the Bratstvo wagon factory in Subotica . His father’s partner, a family friend, was Vladimir Delic, who according to documents from the “Panama Papers” opened an offshore companies in the United Arab Emirates. These firms, said Delic, are not affiliated with Mali.
For a year Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali has declined interviews with KRIK reporters.