Firm Linked to Minister’s Father Paid Less for Arms

Documents obtained by BIRN show that the management of the Serbian arms manufacturer Krusik hid key information about deals it agreed with GIM - a private arms intermediary connected to Branko Stefanovic, father of Serbia's Interior Minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic - and with Jugoimport SDPR, a Serbian state-owned intermediary.

In November 2018, a BIRN investigation revealed that Branko Stefanovic had mediated in arms deals between Krusik and a private Saudi Arabian company, Rinad Aljazira, and had visited Krusik in May 2017 as one of three representatives of GIM.

The intermediary company has grown from a small firm to one with a large annual turnover. Financial reports show that from about 340,000 euros in 2016, GIM's income rose to more than 8 million euros in 2017. The latest data, for 2018, show the company doubled its income again compared to 2017, which coincides with Branko Stefanovic's involvement in the company.

A report published on September 15 by the specialist portal Arms Watch, based on leaked documents, meanwhile claimed weapons that GIM obtained ended up in the hands of ISIS fighters in Yemen.

On September 16, Krusik denied the report - which also said GIM bought weapons from it for a lower price than GIM's state-owned rival SDPR had paid. The portal claims to have come under DDOS attack since publishing the report.

As proof of its claim, Krusik published the contract it signed with GIM in June last year and comparative details on what it had agreed with SDPR.

BIRN analysed the latest data Krusik submitted, and the previous three contracts it signed with GIM, as well as four contracts it signed with SDPR, which were not made public. The documents show that GIM bought weapons from Krusik for a lower price than SDPR...

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