Darko Saric's trial for laundering 22 million euros of cocaine money postponed for 22nd time
A written motion by Saric's lawyer arrived in the court this morning at 8:45 am, 45 minutes before the start of the trial
The closing arguments in the trial of Darko Saric and a group of his associates accused of laundering 22 million euros in Serbia were once again postponed today due to the absence of Saric's defense attorney, Oliver Dojcinovic, who ha been assigned to him by the court.
Saric's lawyer informed the court this morning by letter that he was unable to attend the trial for health reasons, so the presiding judge scheduled the presentation of closing arguments for February 18, 19, 20 and 21 starting at 9:30 am.
A statement from the Higher Court specifies that a written motion by Saric's lawyer arrived in the court this morning at 8:45 am, 45 minutes before the trial. It is added that 140 hearings have been scheduled and 118 held since the start of the proceedings, while no major hearing has been delayed for reasons that would be on the side of the court or the prosecution, but only because of the absence of the defendants or their defense lawyers.
Thiis hearing was postponed for the 22nd time today.
On September 12, 2019, when the closing arguments were originally scheduled to take place, Saric revoked the power of attorney from all his lawyers, after which Oliver Dojcinovic got assigned to him via the call center of the Belgrade Bar Association.
Saric has already been sentenced to 15 years in prison, in December 2018, on charges that he organized a cocaine smuggling group. The second-instance prosecution and defense appeals process is now ongoing.
In addition to Saric, another 16 people have been charged with laundering money in Serbia by injecting "dirty cahs" into legal flows. The prosecution claims that Saric and the others "laundered" some 22 million euros earned through the sale of cocaine, while the defendants deny it. According to the money laundering indictment, the money from the sale of cocaine, which was procured in South American countries, was transferred to Serbia through offshore companies and deposited into the accounts of domestic companies and some banks.
These funds were used to privatize socially-owned enterprises, but also to buy real estate and land. Among other things, the money was invested in Novi Sad's Putnik, Mitrosrem from Sremska Mitrovica, Palic from Subotica, and many pieces of real estate on Zlatibor. The defendants, however, say that they did invest in businesses and land, but that the money had been earned legally.
In addition to Saric, Nebojsa Jestrovic, Andrija Krlovic, Predrag Milosavljevic, Radovan Strbac, Zoran Copic, Marinka Vucetic, Dubravka Strbac, Stevica Kostic, Boban Stojiljkovic, Bojan Stanojkovic, Erdin Agus, Goran Vukovic, Nemanja Spasic, Nemanja Bogdanovic and Marko Dabovic are accused in this case.
After years of on the run, Saric surrendered to Serbian authorities on March 18, 2014, after which he was arrested and has been detained ever since.
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