Ivica Dacic said during an appearance in B92 TV that he has known Rodoljub Radulovic for ten years and was not aware Radulovic was under investigation.
Previously, several video recordings published on a website, dating back to 2008 and 2009, show police leadership of the time meeting with Radulovic, aka Misa Banana, who is currently a fugitive from justice.
In one of recordings Dacic, now Serbia’s foreign minister and first deputy prime minister, who then served as interior minister, talks with Radulovic in a friendly atmosphere in a restaurant.
“I’m sorry that I have to speak again on this subject. I do not see anything that is contrary to what I said earlier. The frequency of these meetings is talked about? Secret meetings? It was not a secret meeting. It was in the presence of the police. Three police officers who were at that lunch are now part of my security,” Dacic said.
According to him, Rodoljub Radulovic at that time did not have a police record.
“The White Book talks about (Darko) Saric, Radulovic is not in it. He is my friend whom I have known for more than ten years. We talked about any topic, about family, about his son who had been practicing tennis for ten years. Certainly not about an investigation I did not know was being conducted,” he added.
After repeated questions by interviewer Suzana Trninic about “what was in the bag that Rodoljub Radulovic is seen giving to Dacic on tape,” the Serbian foreign minister stated that “it was about cigars.”
“After seven years, you ask me what was in the bag. We had a variety of conversation topics, from sports, cigars, political issues, to his family. I have known that man for ten years. Somebody should have informed me that he came from crime,” Dacic said.
He added he was at the time minister of internal affairs, deputy prime minister and member of the Council for National Security, and therefore the police “checked everyone he was meeting with.”
“Everyone was being checked. Waiters were turned back because they did not pass the check. Radulovic was let through. Why? Two years later a complaint was filed against him, while nobody in my surroundings had any idea about the investigation against him or Saric,” said Dacic.
The whole “action” was carried out, he added “only to have him involved in this story”:
“For seven years that material was available to anyone who was able to watch it. To see the nature of my communication with him. I was not hiding from anyone – well is it possible that I met five times with the director of the FBI, without them having that in mind,” said Dacic.
When asked how it was possible that he as minister of police had no information about the investigation, Dacic said this point “worries him, too.”
When the interviewer asserted that everyone from his surroundings had met with Radulovic and that there were “too many coincidences,” Dacic reiterated that he knew Radulovic for ten years. Asked “why (Police Director) Milorad Veljovic did not meet with him,” Dacic said he “would have introduced them if he had a chance.”
“This was a period when he was an ordinary man. I was a person who held top offices in the state. It would have been normal that I was informed about suspicions about this man. It was in 2009, until 2012 I was in a coalition with the DS (Democratic Party). Why wasn’t that information used then?” the minister asked.
When the interviewer said that “former head of the Security-Information Agency Miodrag Rakic often during polemics with (SPS official) Branko Ruzic talked about ‘a Darko Saric club’ at the SPS HQ,” Dacic stressed that the SPS “never did business with Saric.”
“I prayed to God that Saric would come and tell everything. I am being shot with the same bullet for a hundred times. If you executed me with a firing squad seven years ago, I would have resurrected by now,” said Dacic.
The interviewer then asked, “who from the Democratic Party told Vanja Vukic everything was arranged and that the prosecutor will not touch you?” The Socialist leader said that Vukic does not known Radulovic and that this was said figuratively.
“This is a classic police method. If everything was recorded in 2008 and 2009, why was it not in the White Book? Everything that appeared has already been seen, what we spoke about during this socializing, and everything is being turned into politics,” said Dacic.
According to him, it is important “to get to the end of the political reality show.”
“I knew Radulovic when he was president of the Tennis Association of Serbia and Montenegro and I never spoke to him about any criminal activity. Why had this not been prosecuted? How is it possible that you suddenly change your partner, you become a Serb (Ivo) Sanader? That’s a classic police setup,” repeated Dacic.
“Do you think I’m an idiot to do anything that is criminal in front of the police and the public?,” he added.
Asked whether he was “a political hostage” because of the footage and whether he was being “framed,” Dacic said that was not the issue, but rather “the use (of it) in a certain political campaign.”
“This is the kind of thing that brings down governments,” said Dacic. “As far as I’m concerned, it is classic abuse of data that contains no criminal element, but has possibly compromising content.”
As he said, Branko Lazarevic – former head of Dacic’s cabinet, the only one who has been accused for revealing information – never saw Saric, nor does he know who Saric is.
“It is politically incorrect to be treated like this. This is a dirty campaign. It is not right that anybody holding public office is the victim of such a campaign. Vanja Vukic certainly does not know Radulovic. They passed by each other… Then there is also the story about a BlackBerry… These are all fairy tales,” said the Socialist leader.
According to him, “all of it will reach the court.”
“All those who have been engaged in political reality shows have lost in elections. For ten years they had been saying they had a monopoly on democracy, after that the people said what they had to say – and now they are in a position they are in,” he stressed.
According to Dacic, “this is about structures which were, while he was ministers of interior, controlled from another center.”
“It’s all a matter of the past. I will support Vucic in trying to make a good place out of Serbia. Why have they not prosecuted if there was a problem? They never told be anything until 2010,” repeated Dacic.
According to him, any of his associates that committed a criminal offense should be held responsible.
“I’m sorry that Radulovic has not surrendered, so that this topic is removed from the agenda. If the Prosecutor summons, I will respond, but I’ll also make some other statements,” said Dacic.
After this, the Serbian foreign minister asked, “What would you think about a coalition partner with whom you form a government in July and who in December records and follows you without your knowledge?”
“I hope that this political reality (show) is part of ‘Big Brother’. If I am guilty, catch me, lock me up, shoot me – but don’t be using something for seven years in a campaign against me. I’m not a criminal,” he concluded.