Ilija Dević Acquitted for Tax Evasion

After ten years of trials, one of the most serious charges which meant beginning of the attacks against and my property fell. In the judgement made by the Basic Court in Novi Sad the suspicion regarding possible tax evasion was rejected. It was done in such a way that it was only last year that, in spite of the Prosecution which had initiated the charges opposition, the Court accepted the original documentation provided by the Tax Administration which obviously showed that I had been in fiscal overpayment at the moment of the charges initiation.

"The net" began to be constructed in late 2006 when well devised investment ATP Vojvodina was about to be completed. The attack was organized by the powerful people supported by the previous state security members who were taking part in protection and money laundering of narco and tobacco mafia on the territory of Vojvodina. The group consists of around thirty people who in that time but nowadays as well have been managing the police, prosecution, judiciary and institutions in Vojvodina. They estimated that my assets should be taken away from me claiming: "He cannot make money in Novi Sad when we are there." The person the group can rely on in judiciary is Đorđe Ostojić and Aleksandar Divljak, the clerk in Credit Agricole Bank.

The most important point here is that the money I brought to Novi Sad is of well-known origin, earned during the period of thirty years of my being a successful entrepreneur. When I was finishing the investment in late 2006, the instructed people from the Novi Sad Internal Affairs Secretariat suddenly appeared. Aleksandar Petković, Neško Nešković and others were led by Bogdan Pušić. They took the documentation from the company, they controlled everything but they did not manage to find anything illegal. The financial police arrived after them, and they also did not find anything illegal. Then they got the idea to transfer me from the centre for the big tax payers into Novi Sad centre "so that they could mangle me". They really did that and the complaint I filed based on the overpayment was rejected.

Although I was the Director General and majority owner, I granted authorization to the Financial Director at the Basic Court in Novi Sad to manage the entire financial and general sectors and to have the right to sign the tax declaration. She really was doing that while I was exclusively dealing with the strategic matters in the company.

ATP Vojvodina had a regularly registered and recorded tax and as a big tax payer in investment was paying its fiscal obligations in accordance with the law. It had big tax credits due to VAT payment which the company was reposting to the tax on the salaries and contributions and it from time to time demanded giving back the means earned through VAT. ATP Vojvodina officials regularly met and made the agreements with the Tax Administration management because of the difficulties in doing the business since the City of Novi Sad failed to comply with the signed contract. The Tax Administration even took the ATP Vojvodina property pledge so that they could secure their demands which, among other things, clearly shows that there were not any intentions to avoid or evade the obligation.

In the beginning of the year 2007, after completion of the investment and obtaining the use permit, I informed the City Administration that I had complied with the contractual obligation (link) and demanded from the City of Novi Sad to comply with their part of the contract. That was the moment when all the inspections, including the tax one, attacked the company and me personally. In the beginning of June 2007 I filed the damage compensation demand because of contempt of contract concluded with the City of Novi Sad.

Immediately after that I was invited to the meeting with Ratko Buturović at the Park hotel. I was told that the lawyer Dragan Gojković, Maja Gojković' s brother, would come there as well. He was late; we were waiting for him for two hours because, as he explained, he had had meetings with the client Antun Stanaj. Buturović and Gojković demanded the amount of 2,5 million Euros so that my investment could start working. I did not accept their offer, I said goodbye to them and left the meeting.

In the beginning of 2007 Buturović called me and said that there was a tax policeman in my company. The tax policeman was Šljukić. In late September 2007 he filed an incorrectly made official note to the police - to the famous department where Bogdan Pušić, Neško Nešković and Alelksandar Petković worked. They forwarded the note to the Basic Prosecution in Novi Sad which was also composed of some interesting people - Bata Protić, later expelled from the Prosecution because of his cooperation with the narco and tobacco mafia, Ksena Bašić - wife of one of the Bašić brothers accused of collaboration with the narco and tobacco mafia as well as Vladana Todorić - a person in friendly-godfather connections with Đorđe Ostojić who received the police note so that an indictment could be raised against me. She raised the indictment based on the Šljukić's notes but she did not determine that I was still the tax payer in Belgrade centre in the time of the indictment raising. It means that the Prosecution in Novi Sad did not have jurisdiction in the case. In order to support the indictment, she engaged the court expert Miljka Otorinov who was generally the one engaged for the dirty activities of the abovementioned persons. Based on the invented data, she provided the results which "found out" the unpaid taxes and contributions in the amount of 137 million dinars and she charged that on me. The lawyers engaged another court expert who found out that I had overpaid. However, the judge Miroljub Novićević rejected that, he did not allow giving of the evidence, bringing of the witnesses; he even did not let taking of the data from the Tax Administration cards, he did not allow providing of the tax registrations and he did not allow defining of identity of the person who had signed them. Instead, he sentenced me to 14 months in prison.

The Court of Appeal in Novi Sad to which I filed the complaint returned the case to a new trial. Till the end of 2015 the prosecutor Vladana Todorić used to say various lies, thus showing her lack of elementary knowledge about the tax issues and mathematics. She was behaving as if conducting a personal lawsuit against me, and she did not find out that there was no intent there! In the end we demanded providing of the tax cards which showed that I had not been the General Director during the entire period of the litigations. We also got the tax registrations where there was not my signature so the judge made the acquittal judgement on 18 June 2018.

This procedure has caused enormous expenses to the budget during its ten-year lasting. It has also raised the question if that is what the prosecutors serve for or if they should maybe deal with those who transferred their state jobs into private areas. The intention of the whole procedure was to provide conditions for the abovementioned group supported by the Credit Agricole Bank's banker, Aleksandar Divljak, to compromise me, arrest me and take away my investment and assets.

ATP “Vojvodina“ looked like this

before being privatized


ATP“Vojvodina“ looks like this

after being privatized


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