Serbia’s Minister of Interior Nebojsa Stefanovic wasn’t clear at Thursday’s press conference whether his ruling party had hired security guards tied to criminal organizations for President Aleksandar Vucic’s inauguration ceremony.
Stefanovic said that he doesn’t believe the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) recruited Borko Aranitovic, one of the aggressors who assaulted journalists and anti-Vucic protestors at the swearing in event on May 31.
KRIK found that Aranitovic is close to the crew of Aleksandar Stankovic – dubbed “Sale the Mute” – a drug kingpin who was assassinated last October.
The minister said that the perpetrators who were photographed dragging protesters away by the neck and threatening journalists have been identified, and that action is being taken against them.
“These aren’t unfamiliar faces, contrary to media speculations,” Stefanovic told KRIK reporters. “Supposedly now somebody is going to reveal the faces. Everyone has been identified and action is being taken.”
One of the security guards, KRIK discovered through online photographs, is Borko Aranitovic who is tied to Serbia’s underworld and to law enforcement authorities.
The unofficial guards, who, according to the victims, had no identifying insignia, were praised as “party security guards” by SNS several days after the incident. Minister Stefanovic doesn’t think that the mafia-connected Aranitovic was one of them.
“I’m not sure that anybody thought of him,” Stefanovic told KRIK reporters on Thursday. “I don’t know, I didn’t ask. Maybe some of them were SNS guards. I don’t think SNS precisely declared all of them as party security. I can’t know everyone who was there.”
A Facebook photo shows Aranitovic working as a security guard on the “Freestyler,” a nightclub barge on Belgrade’s Sava river. He is also seen with members of the Sale the Mute’s gang.
KRIK further identified Aranitovic in a security camera video that shows Stankovic’s gang beating Zoran Jaksic, another criminal who is currently on trial in Peru for drug trafficking.
Aranitovic’s Facebook profile also reveals his personal connection to Nenad Vuckovic called “Vucko”, a member of a special police force called the Gendarmerie.