New US Sanctions on Companies and Persons from Serbia Related to Arms Deals

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published, on 09.12.2019, as part of the International Anti-Corruption Day, a report “targeting corrupt actors and their networks in many countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America”.

OFAC administers and implements economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international drug traffickers engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the US national security, foreign policy, or economic system.

The report, called “Treasury Sanctions Corruption and Material Support Networks” outlines and describes the activities of six Serbian citizens in semi-legal arms deals with foreigners.

The report coincides with the arms trafficking affair in Serbia, which is alleged to have involved the father of the minister of internal affairs Nebojša Stefanović. Serbia’s opposition has disclosed inside information submitted by Aleksandar Obradović, a former worker at the Krušik Valjevo state-owned ammunition plant, for arms trade with countries subject to an arms embargo.

According to the opposition, “Slobodan Tešić donated two tractors to people in Kosovo on behalf of President Aleksandar Vucic, while at the same time Krušik was about to sign an arms deal in Armenia. At the last moment the deal was canceled and made available for the Slobodan Tešić’s company Vectura”.

The statement of the US Department of the Treasury shows that Tešić and his associates have been known for years by the US government.
During the presentation of the report, the Director of OFAC Steven Mnuchin stated that: “Corruption deprives people of their countries’ resources, essential services and economic opportunities while enriching selected individuals and facilitates environmental degradation, political instability and conflicts. On International Anti-Corruption Day, we target actors in Europe, Asia and Latin America who continue to undermine the foundations of stable, secure and functioning societies through their illegal activities.”

Following is the text of the report that refers to Serbian companies and citizens who will be sanctioned:

“Slobodan Tesic (Tesic) was identified in the annex of E.O. 13818 on December 21, 2017.  At the time of his designation, Tesic was among the biggest dealers of arms and munitions in the Balkans, spending nearly a decade on the United Nations (UN) Travel Ban List for violating UN sanctions against arms exports to Liberia.  In order to secure arms contracts with various countries, Tesic would directly or indirectly provide bribes and financial assistance. Tesic took potential clients on high-value vacations, paid for their children’s education at western schools or universities, and used large bribes to secure contracts. Four companies were concurrently designated for being owned or controlled by Tesic:  Preduzece Za Trgovinu Na Veliko I Malo Partizan Tech DOO Beograd-Savski Venac (Partizan Tech), Technoglobal Systems DOO Beograd (Technoglobal), Charso Limited, and Grawit Limited.

Following his designation, Tesic continued to engage in the arms trade and operate as a silent partner in companies he indirectly owns and manages.  In these instances, Tesic still controls many, if not all, aspects of the companies’ daily operations, including brokering deals and soliciting new business opportunities, though he relies on his trusted associates to sign the deals and to appear on all public documentation. Today’s action targets nine individuals that have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Tesic:

• Goran Andric (Andric) is one of Tesic’s closest associates and has represented Tesic in various international sales, including conducting contract negotiations on Tesic’s behalf while Tesic was on the UN travel ban list and unable to travel. In working for Tesic, Andric was involved in facilitating arms deals, including an occasion when Andric signed a contract on behalf of the designated entity, Partizan Tech. In addition, OFAC designated Velcom Trade D.O.O. Beograd, which is based in Serbia, for being owned or controlled by, or for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Andric.

• Esad Kapidzic is the director and secretary of Cyprus-based Finrost Limited (Finrost), as well as the director and representative of Serbia-based Falcon Strategic Solutions D.O.O. (Falcon Strategic), two entities also designated for being owned or controlled by, or for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Tesic. Finrost received and moved money on behalf of Tesic, and was used by Tesic for a weapons contract with a foreign government in Africa. Additionally, Falcon Strategic was established by Tesic immediately following his December 21, 2017 designation to avoid sanctions.

• Nebojsa Sarenac (Sarenac) is the managing director of both Technoglobal and Partizan Tech. Sarenac is Tesic’s nephew and one of his closest associates.

Also designated today is Melvale Corporation D.O.O. Beograd (Melvale), which is based in Serbia, for being owned or controlled by, or for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Sarenac, who is the owner and representative of Melvale.

• Zoran Petrovic is a managing director and principal of Partizan Tech, an entity designated in December 2017. Petrovic has negotiated with foreign entities on Tesic’s behalf.

• Nikola Brkic is a principal and a legal representative of Partizan Tech.

• Milan Subotic (Subotic) is the owner and managing director, and a representative of Serbia-based Vectura Trans DOO (Vectura Trans), an entity that is being concurrently designated today for being owned or controlled by, or for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Tesic. Tesic utilized Vectura Trans to receive an approved license for exports, to complete arms deals, and to finalize weapons contracts with a foreign government.  Subotic was also listed as the point of contact for export permits related to Partizan Tech.

• Zelimir Petrovic is the owner, managing director, and representative of Serbia-based Araneks DOO (Araneks), an entity that is being concurrently designated today for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Tesic. Araneks was used by Tesic to finalize weapons contracts with a foreign government in Africa and in dealings with another foreign government.

• Sreten Cvjetkovic is a 50 percent owner and representative of Falcon Strategic.

• Ljubo Maricic is the director of Technoglobal and a former representative of Partizan Arms, predecessor to Partizan Tech.

In addition to the six entities named above, OFAC is targeting three additional entities for being owned or controlled by, or acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Tesic:

• The Cyprus-based Moonstorm Enterprises LTD, is an entity that is being concurrently designated today for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Tesic.

• Tesic also utilized Cyprus-based Tardigrade Limited (Tardigrade) to conduct business in third-party countries, particularly Arab and African countries. Tesic has also used his Serbian companies to sign contracts with Tardigrade before selling the goods to a final buyer.

• Tesic established Hong Kong-based Business Diversity Limited in order to conduct business with a European country. Tesic has used Business Diversity Limited in Euro denominated contracts to evade U.S. sanctions.”

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