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Frozen Assets of the Sukara Family Worth 820,000 KM

Vladimir Sukara says that his family did not receive a court notice about the temporary freezing of his father’s assets. In a statement to the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) Sukara said police were giving incorrect information to the media.

The Republika Srpska (RS) Ministry of Interior Affairs issued a press statement saying that courts in the RS and Republic of Serbia have temporarily frozen the family assets. Those are: an apartment with a cellar in Banja Luka worth 170,000 KM, eight vehicles (freight and cars) worth 250,000 KM, land worth 50,000 KM, an apartment in Belgrade worth 150,000 KM and an apartment in Mladenovac worth 200,000 KM.

These measures were instigated after an investigation carried out at the orders of a District Prosecutor’s Office because of suspicions that Novo Sukara, the owner of Orion 3, and linked physical and legal entities, evaded taxes and benefits and abused financial authority. The police searched and confiscated documents from three sites in the Banja Luka area. The suspicion is that the assets from BiH and Serbia have not been acquired legally.

“For me this is unfounded. (…) for me it is nothing and it means nothing,” said Vladimir, Sukara, adding that he personally has no property.

In May, the RS Tax Administration reported Novo Sukara to the RS police because of suspicions that in his capacity as owner and director of Orion 3 he was evading taxes and employee benefits, thus abusing his authority. According to the firm’s data, Orion 3 has more than 300 employees and is involved in distribution and wholesale and retail business. The firm was a majority owner of the Prijedor meat factory IMPRO.

“IMPRO is in bankruptcy and everyone knows this, and Orion 3 – its status is known as well. The firm is blocked,” says Vladimir Sukara.

In September 2010, BiH’s Indirect Tax Authority issued a decision that put Orion in a special tax bracket due to its 80,144 KM of unpaid V.A.T. The debt was related to a period between May and July of 2010. The decision meant that all persons buying the firm’s goods and services were to pay V.A.T. directly to the Authority. In order to collect its debt, the agency organized a public auction in September 2011 to sell the company’s’ seized vehicles at the starting price of 167,000 KM.

In the past two years since in the RS was passed the Law on Forfeiture of Assets Gained from Illicit Proceeds around 28 million KM in assets from more than 200 persons has been frozen. In the case of Dario Brkić, assets worth 500,000 KM were forfeited. Brkić was sentenced without appeal on charges of setting up illegal gambling.

No state law matching the RS entity law on forfeiture exists, so it must be accomplished through several provisions of the Penal Code and the BiH Law on the Execution of Criminal Sanctions. The Federation of BiH has just passed a draft law on Forfeiture of Assets Gained from Illicit Proceeds.

Published Sept. 14, 2012

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