Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali Concealed Ownership of 24 Apartments on Bulgarian Coast

A joint investigation of Serbian KRIK and Bulgarian Bivol exposed a scheme with commission fees after the privatization of Beopetrol by Lukoil
by Екип на Биволъ

The resort Saint Nikola near the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Chernomorets was built by former professional Bulgarian basketball player Vladimir Boyanov (husband of former Deputy Economy Minister Edith Getova) and his fellow Serbian basketball athlete and partner Srdjan Dabic. The construction was financed with a loan from the Bulgarian – American Credit Bank (BACB).

In addition to being a basketball player, Dabic is known as the former Director of the Serbian branch of Lukoil. He was the driving force behind the privatization of the Serbian State gas company Beopetrol by Lukoil in 2003 in what the Serbian Anti-Corruption Agency has called a crooked deal. The current mayor of Belgrade Sinisa Mali was at that time Director of the Center for Tenders in the Agency for Privatization. The department controlled the sale of Serbian state-owned companies, including Beopetrol, meaning Mali was running a department charged with overseeing the tender for the State.

Ten years later, companies owned by Sinisa Mali bought from a company owned by Srdjan Dabic 14 apartments in Saint Nikola with total area of 2,435 square meters, the investigative journalists from KRIK and Bivol established. In 2012 and 2013, when Mali did the purchase, he was economic and financial advisor to the current Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, with whom he is particularly close. He was elected Mayor of Belgrade in 2014.

For the biggest deal involving 24 apartments, Sinisa Mali created two Bulgarian companies Erma 11 and Erul 11, but stepped down as their director a year later. They are in turn owned by Brigham Holding & Finance Inc. and Etham Invest & Finance Corp. – offshore companies from the British Virgin Islands. The sale price for these apartments was 709,000 euro. Mali paid 1,585 euro in cash and was to pay an additional 707,000 euro within three years of the signing date. That repayment period has expired and it is not known whether any additional payments were made. However, Erul 11 managed to sell four apartments in 2013 – 2015 to Russian citizens. According to their officially declared value, the company earned about 250,000 euro.

Besides the deal with Dabic, Erma 11 and Erul 11 had other property acquisitions. Mali even bought an apartment in the Saint Nikola resort in his name. He owns personally or through his companies a total of 24 apartments in the resort. The Mayor has also acquired two apartments in Belgrade which he has transferred to his wife. The official income of Sinisa Mali does not exceed 34,000 euro per year and the origin of funds for these acquisitions remains unclear.

The full investigation can be found on the website of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) of which KRIK and Bivol are partners.


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