Serbian police Wednesday arrested ten prominent businessmen, including Serbia's wealthiest tycoon Miroslav Mišković, on charges of fraud and abuse of office. The men are suspected of pocketing around $39 million in the process of privatizing highway companies in Serbia in 2005.
When Serbia's new, nationalist government took control over the summer, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic pledged to root out the corruption that has long plagued the country. Since Mišković was a major funder of the previous, pro-Western administration, he was widely expected to become an early target of that effort.
When he was arrested Wednesday morning at his home, Mišković threatened the deputy prime minister's life, telling police that Vucic would not live long enough to make his scheduled appearance Wednesday night on Serbian Public Television, according to officials present at the arrest.
Miskovic and the other men detained Wednesday will be held for questioning for 48 hours before Organized Crime Prosecutors determine the next steps of the investigation, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported in detail on Miroslav Mišković in our previous project, "The Mišković Millions."