Monthly Archives: October 2012

jugoremedija chronology 2012

On the 27th April 2012, Jugoremedija has submitted to the State Public Attorney a proposal for a peaceful settlement of dispute, seeking damages for the unlawful actions of government bodies in selling shares of the company (privatization) in 2002, and for the lack of supervision over the execution of the privatization contract. These actions allowed Jovica Stefanovic (the new “owner-investor”) in 2004 to dismissed 150 workers and continuously rob the factory until March 2007 when he lost control of Jugoremedija in a lawsuit initiated against him by the factory’s small shareholders. The damage Jugoremedija, its workers and shareholders for failure to State organs was estimated at 111 million euro. The submission of the proposal for a peaceful settlement of dispute, was followed by amplified attacks by the Authorities, which lasts to this day.

Chronology 2012

29th of June – Shareholders’ assembly

The Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of Jugoremedija needed to take the necessary decisions that would allow the company to comply with the new Companies Act that has set deadline for all companies in Serbia to harmonize their regulations and structure with its provisions by 15th of July 2012, otherwise they would be liquidated.

However, one group of shareholders did not certify their powers of attorney for the assembly (a new provision by law) and could not officially participate in the voting; the second group i.e. the State which has 30% vote, was sent to abstain, but their power of attorney was submitted after the statutory deadline and so could not take part in the voting, as well. The Assembly was postponed for two weeks for lack of quorum which put the company at risk of missing the legal deadline and being liquidated.

15th of July – Postponed Shareholders’ assembly

For a postponed assembly, the law allows for a lower quorum, and decisions on aligning Jugoremedija with new Company Law were adopted. The state is once again sent their representatives to abstain. However, the vote is by power of attorney and since the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development did not want to take the political responsibility for the liquidation of Jugoremedija (especially during the election campaign!), this power of attorney was signed by a lower official of the Agency for Privatization instead of the Minister himself. Therefore, the verification Commission did not allow the representatives of the State to vote in this postponed assembly as well. Jugoremedija liquidation is avoided or rather the intention of the State to avoid a decision on the claim for damages by liquidating the legal person who has filed it failed.


28th of July

Unknown persons set fire to the company car that is used by Jugoremedija’s CEO Zdravko Deurić, in the parking lot outside the building where he lives. Till now, the perpetrators have not been caught although they were documented by security cameras set on the neighboring building. Mainstream media in Serbia reported this news with the commentary that workers of Jugoremedija have not been paid for months.

1st of August

Police arrested Zdravko Deurić, Ankica Malušić – the financial director Jugoremedija, Milana Zlokas – the director of Penfarme (a new factory for the production of penicillin) and Stevan Gregovic – an appraiser and court expert, on suspicion of wrong estimation of Jugoremedija’s investment and therefore its respective part in ownership in the new company and factory Penfarm by which, it was assumed, Jugoremedija was damaged for 600 thousand Euro. They were ordered a two-day detention. After two days Ankica Malušić and Stevan Gregović were released whereas the detention of Zdravko Deurić and Milana Zlokas was extended for a month on account that they might influence witnesses while the investigative judge is on his annual summer vacation. A few days later the Police began bringing in Jugoremedija’s workers and shareholders for “informal” interrogation, which itself is illegal since once and investigation is officially opened citizens connected to the case can be questioned only as witnesses. they were pressured to testify against Deurić and Zlokas, or to be accused themselves (e.g., a police inspector told Jelena Lukic Jugoremedija’s deputy director, during her questioning that he is not yet sure whether she was brought in as the defendant, a witness or as a citizen).

2nd of August

First protest rally of more than a hundred of Jugoremedija’s workers and shareholders in front of Zrenjanin’s Central Police Station (Zrenjaninskog MUP-a), demanding the termination of the detention on account of its irregular procedures.

3rd of August

At 10 o’clock Jugoremedija’s workers and shareholders occupy Zrenjanin City Hall, seeking to speak with Goran Knezevic, Zrenjanin’s Mayor and Minister of Agriculture. Knezevic only appears around midnight and promises concrete information about the release of the detained and help for Jugoremedija in several days. Protesters are breaking.

6th of August

Jugoremedija files a lawsuit against Republic of Serbia for damages of privatization in the amount of 111 million Euro, following the expiration of the legal period given by law for the Attorney General to respond to the proposal for peaceful settlement of the dispute.

8th of August

Finance (tax) and crime police enter the factory to conduct a two-month long investigative search. Workers are questioned daily in the premises of the factory, and the police declares the drugs found in a warehouse evidence and bans their sale.

14th of August

“State violence against JUGOREMEDIJA” a round table organized by Center for Cultural Decontamination and CA Ravnopravnost. Speakers: Nebojsa Popov, sociologist, Zagorka Golubovic, anthropologist, Dr. Ivan Jankovic, lawyer, Sasa Jankovic, Ombudsman, Gordana Spasojevic, lawyer; Branislav Markus, president of Ravnopravnost; Zlokas Vera, the mother detained Milane Zlokas, Jasenka Golic, lawyer of Jugoremedija; Ljubica Stjepanovic – Muhić, President of Shareholders Association Prosveta, Belgrade, Zoran Gočević, leader of the former employees and shareholders Srbolek.

15th of August

Forty workers of Jugoremedija gather outside Zrenjanin’s Central Police Station (Zrenjaninskog MUP-a), and demand to be informed as to the progress in the investigation of Deurić’s torched car. The head of the investigation informs them, the next day, in written form that the investigation is ongoing.

17th of August

Forty employees and shareholders Jugoremedija gathers in front of the jail with a request to be allowed to visit the detainees, but the visits were permitted only to members of the immediate families.

20th of August

Another protest held in front of Zrenjanin’s High Court for breach of the presumption of innocence of the detainees. The presumption of innocence was violated because Deurić and Zlokas were detained while the police did not yet qualify the crime with which they were charged, but continued to investigate even after detention. The representatives of the protest Branislav Markus (Ravnopravnost) and Vladimir Pecikoza (Union Jugoremedija) were met by the Secretary of the High Court Branislav Golijanin who promised them a written response as soon as possible to the allegations that the detention of Zdravko Deurić and Milana Zlokas violated their presumption of innocence. To this day the answer has not arrived.

22th of August

While in custody, Zdravko Deurić resigns from the position of CEO of Jugoremedija, at the insistence of the two defense lawyers hired by him on recommendation of the Minister of Agriculture and former Mayor of Zrenjanin Goran Knezevic. As visits were limited solely to Deurić’s family members and lawyers and Deurić has no direct contact with leading factory management or those of the anti-corruption struggle. Therefore, attorneys could convince him that for now, his resignation is the best solution for Jugoremedija and that it is also the position of the Board of Directors of the factory, which was untrue. Jugoremedija’s Board of Directors accepts, the next day, Deurić resignation in the belief that is his wish.

27th of August

The European Parliament Liaison for European Integration in South East Europe Jelko Kacin, visits the workers and shareholders of Jugoremedija. Kacin said on that occasion that the resolution of the European Parliament to investigate 24 cases of controversial privatization, among which is the privatization of Jugoremedija was understood by anyone who knows the Serbian language, and the European Parliament in its resolution clearly stated that it expects to investigate suspected corruption in privatization, not to arrest shareholders.


28th of August

Zrenjanin’s power company tries to turn the power off in Jugoremedija, but is disrupted by the workers.


4th and 5th of September

The investigating judge hears all ten witnesses and nevertheless orders another month of detention for Deurić and Zlokas, on the State Prosecutors “word” that the investigation will be expended.


7th of September

Another protest in front of the prison to demand the release of Zdravko and Milana


19th of September

Association Ravnopravnost in cooperation with the Center for Cultural Decontamination organized another protest in front of the prison where in addition to Jugoremedija’s workers and shareholders participate dozens of workers from several Belgrade companies in the process of privatization (Srbolek, Rekord, Trudbenik …), non-governmental organizations and individuals from other towns in Serbia.


20th of September

Milana Zlokas and Zdravko Deurić are released from custody. No evidence was found for the embezzlement of 600 thousand Euros.


11th of October

The High Public Prosecutor expands investigation against Zdravko Deurić and Ankice Malušić for alleged tax evasion and to initiate proceedings to seize his assets in order to secure payment if a court determines that the State was damaged due to the unpaid taxes.

ravnopravost on jugoremedija

Dear ….

On August 1st, 2012, , the Zrenjanin Police arrested Jugoremedija’s General Director, Zdravko Deuric and Financial Director Anika Malusic, as well as a Director of Penpharm, Milana Zlokas on the basis of a “suspicion” of criminal offence abuse of power. Those under arrest are the very individuals who brought to light the plunder associated with the first “privatization’ of Jugoremedija, a process now facing scrutiny by the European Commission. The charges “abuse of power” are a relic of the influence of Soviet jurisprudence on domestic law, which is especially known to be used in politically manufactured cases, and which remains part of Serbian criminal law, despite repeated comments from the Europe an Commission. This case impacts not only the concrete persons in question but over 450 workers and 4000 small shareholders of Jugoremedija and Penpharm since it is orchestrated in order to gain State/tycoon control over these factories and close them down. This repression calls for special measures in the form of specialized lawyers that can deal with political cases. We, therefore, appeal to you on the basis of workers’ struggle and Human Rights, who recognized the faults in the privatization process and criminal code to support morally and financially the defense of this case.

Branislav Markus



More details about the case:

These arbitrary arrests, on the 1st of August, resulted in significant breaches of the law on criminal procedure, because prior to the issuance of decisions on detention, the detainees were not allowed to present defenses: they were not informed of the charges against them, nor were they interrogated, contrary to any minimum guarantees of liberty and due process. The investigation was opened on August 3rd, when Zdravko Deuric and Milana Zlokas were ordered detain for one month, on the basis of the need to “examine witnesses”, while the other defendants were released. The detention ordered as the investigating judge is on vacation while the Court is on annual recess. As a result, detainees must remain in prison, ostensibly to prevent undue “influence of witnesses’, although in this matter, the relevant facts will be established through financial and other documents, and not on the basis of witness testimony.

Upon opening their investigation, the Zrenjanjin Police continued to “build” their case on a foundation of flagrant violations of the law, by asking Jugoremedija workers every day to attend for investigation as citizens, despite the fact that after opening on August 3rd, investigation ought to require workers being interrogated as witnesses, in front of a judge. The police invitations for informational discussions indicate that the invitations are aimed at collecting evidence of criminal acts relating to abuse of power. The Zrenanjin police and courts are simultaneously pursuing and overlapping two procedural phases: pre-trial and investigatory. The criminal process is thus brought to a close, replaced by institutional lawlessness, preceded by physical violence that continues -extrajudicial attacks on the workers of Jugoremedija such as throwing concrete block into one of the worker’s-activist’s bedroom in February and setting Zdravko Deuric’s car on fire a week before his arresting.

Since the cancelation of the privatization contract and return of the company to the hands of the workers and small shareholders in March 2007, the company is constantly “under investigation” but since August 1″, the business of Jugoremedija has been usurped by constant demands and orders from tax inspectors and corporate crime investigators who spend all their time at Jugoremedija and interfere with work. And while one group of workers is called for investigation, the remaining workers are “employed’ for the purpose of producing “cases” from arbitrary suspicions and accusations.

Jugoremedija endures a heavy burden, unable to perform business as usual and to cope with already very difficult situation caused by the actions of state agencies, which the European Parliament addressed in Resolution B7-000012012 (issued March 29, 2012), calling on “the Serbian authorities to review immediately the controversial privatisation and sale of 24 companies, seeing that the European Commission found serious doubts concerning their legality, including [… ] Jugoremedija’. The current actions of the Zrenanjin police and courts are revenge because the workers of Jugoremedija have succeeded in alerting the European Commission .

On the 20 of September, Zdravko Deuric and Milana Zlokas were freed after 50 days in jail, 15 days after all the witnesses were heard and no charges were handed in to the court. The allegations were widen to another two persons – the chief driver and the head procurer which have no access to the major criminal accusation. Such behavior by police and judicial authorities make it clear that they lack foundation for investigation and are simply randomly shaking down any aspect of Jugoremedija’s work, hoping that evidence will be revealed. Yet all indications are that there is no case. Two people were unjustly detained, while the other Jugoremedija workers are terrorized daily by unceasing demands for unlawful interrogations, clearly with the goal of intimidation and fear.

From all the said above it is clear the legal attack on Jugoremedija, Penfarm, their directors, workers and small shareholders is motivate by political and economic interests and not by genuine legal doubts. This calls for a team of lawyers that can deal with political-economic cases which is beyond the financial capabilities of the individuals and firms involved, therefore we would greatly appreciate any help you could offer.