Last Chance for Serbian National Carrier

BIRN obtained five draft agreements made by UAE’s Etihad Airways, the Serbian government and Jat Airways, six days before the three parties signed contracts on a strategic partnership on August 1.

In November 2013, Air Serbia refused Transparency Serbia’s request to see the airline's contract with Etihad, stating commercial confidentiality.

Serbian government officials have since December said that the agreements between Etihad Airways, the Serbian government and Jat Airways would be published “soon”.

As the public pressure mounted, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, stated on February 3 that the contracts would be published before the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 16.

The last announcement came on March 10 when Sinisa Mali, member of the city of Belgrade’s provisional council, announced that the agreement will be published in the next few weeks.

Rodoljub Sabic, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, in the meantime ordered Air Serbia to revise its decision to keep contracts confidential, stating that some parts of the deals may be kept as a business secret but that deals on major state investments must be transparent.

The contracts have yet to be published.

The documents named as drafts of a Transaction framework agreement, an Investment agreement, a Shareholder agreement and a Management services agreement may have been changed before they were signed, however.

The contracts have confidentiality clauses that state that some parts may be released after the Closing Date, which was set for January 1, 2014, while some should be kept confidential beyond this date.

Under the plan, Etihad should have been registered as a...

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