Police on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant against Serbia's millionaire businessman Sreten Karic after he failed to appear voluntarily for questioning. Karic, former director general of the Balkan republic's chief wireless carrier Mobtel, is accused by authorities of committing fraud and tax evasion while running the company. Police said that Karic did not appear voluntarily for interrogation in the case.
The warrant is part of a major state crackdown against the Karic clan, one of Serbia's richest families and founders of an increasingly popular political party, Strength of Serbia. The clash started two weeks ago when the government revoked a license for Mobtel, accusing the Karics of jeopardizing state interests by signing a deal with a Kosovo company, run by an ethnic Albanian.
Bogoljub Karic, the Strength of Serbia leader, and other family members have rejected accusations against them, accusing the government of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica of attempts to silence political opponents. The Strength of Serbia party is planning a rally in Belgrade for later Tuesday to protest the alleged political pressure against the family.
Separately, the police also moved into Karic's BK Telecom television for an investigation. One of the TV's chief transmitters was switched off late Monday and its account blocked on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether Sreten Karic was in Serbia.
His brother, Bogoljub, who also is under investigation for allegedly attempting to bribe a parliament member, appeared last week in U.N.-run Kosovo but has not been seen in Belgrade. Sreten Karic is accused of a "fraudulent" trade with real estate, worth some Ђ13 million (US$15.8million), which caused financial loss for Mobtel, while enabling Karic and others to dodge property tax of about Ђ2.8 million (US$3.4 million), reports the AP. N.U.