A Slovenian investigative portal reported that the authorities in Ljubljana investigated the bank accounts of United Group founder Dragan Solak for the authorities in Belgrade.
Solak is also co-owner of Telemach in Slovenia and N1 in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia.
The necenzurisano.si portal said that the Slovenian Office for Money Laundering Prevention (UPPD) got data on Solak’s bank accounts prior to last April’s elections in Serbia, adding that several sources confirmed that an investigation into Solak was launched in November allegedly at the request of official Belgrade.
Necenzurirano.si said several hundred people and companies in Slovenia were investigated to collect financial data on Solak with the UPPD claiming that crimes were committed to justify the investigations. The UPPD confirmed that it received a request from another country but did not say which country.
The Serbian authorities view Solak and N1 Serbia as a thorn in their side because of its critical reporting. President Aleksandar Vucic has even gone so far as to call Solak an enemy of Serbia while regime-controlled tabloids have accused him of getting rich illegally and trying to topple Vucic. According to the portal, Solak is hugely influential in the region with his media companies holding high market shares.
The portal said that the UPPD investigation allowed the Slovenian authorities to provide information on Serbian opposition politician Dragan Djilas who has been accused of being in league with Solak by pro-regime media.
It said that Belgrade and Ljubljana provided information to each other prior to elections including things used against the opposition in both countries. The portal specified that the Slovenian authorities investigated Djilas’ bank accounts across Europe six months prior to the Serbian elections and that the Serbian authorities provided information about a company owned by a presidential favourite at the April elections in Slovenia Robert Golob across the Balkans.
The quid pro quo arrangement allowed the authorities in both countries to get information about their citizens without legal grounds, the portal said and added that the cooperation began after Vucic came to the Strategic Forum in Bled in August 2021.
It recalled that Vucic said in November 2021 that he would disclose how much money Djilas and Solak gave to Kosovo Albanian lobbyists.