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Serbian Resort Town in "Hands of Mafia”

Belgrade | 26 May 2009 |

Nature Resorts

A peaceful mountain resort in Western Serbia, popular with visitors for its outdoor activities, has become a favorite location for criminal activities and a hot-spot for mafia bosses.
Money launderers and shady so-called businessmen have found a haven in Zlatibor and similar resort towns in the country, reports the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.

The daily writes that it is a well known secret that local resorts, hotels and restaurants in the sleepy town are in the hands of the mafia, despite documentation legitimising the businesses and properties to other people's names, and says that this is also happening in Subotica, Vrnjačka Banja, Kopaonik, Palić and Novi Sad.

The most beautiful location, seems to hold the highest concentration of “dirty money”, it writes.

Serbian criminals are not the only ones reported to be meeting and working in Zlatibor, crime bosses from Montenegro and the Bosnian Serb dominated entity of Republika Srpska are seen too.

“Once upon a time they caused problems. Now they have changed into suits and are acting like businessmen, but they always get their jobs done the old-fashioned way, either illegally or on the edge of the law,” writes the paper.

Milan Stamatovic, president of the Cajetina municipality, in 2007 called on state institutions to tackle the problem, and asked regional police to confront the growing "presence of construction [related] mafia and criminals”.

“Zlatibor has been occupied by the construction mafia, which is legalising dirty money through the purchase of property and the construction of buildings, especially apartments,” Stamatovic wrote in his appeal.

“Criminals from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina congregate here…They take out their guns in night clubs, consume and sell drugs, and club owners are afraid for their own safety,” he complained.

However, as the paper points out, nearly two years since Stamatovic wrote his appeal, the situation remains the same.

Serbian Resort Town in "Hands of Mafia? ::

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