A SERBIAN national, Darko Saric who the Serbian police suspect of smuggling 2.7 tons of cocaine from South Africa to Europe and who since January 2010 has been on Interpol’s wanted list, is also officially a Slovak citizen. The SITA newswire drew attention to Saric when it reported on February 16 that the Serbian Interior Ministry had requested an explanation from Slovak authorities why Saric had been granted Slovak citizenship – as well as an ID and passport.
Slovakia’s Interior Ministry confirmed that it is in contact with Serbia’s security bodies and that an international investigation of Darko Saric has been initiated. The ministry underscored the fact that Saric received citizenship in January 2006, during the term of the previous government.
The ministry’s spokesperson Erik Tomáš said, as reported by SITA, that lax legislation in effect at that time could be the reason why the alleged smuggler received a Slovak passport. The spokesperson emphasised that current Minister Robert Kaliňák had elaborated a draft bill on state citizenship which, beginning in 2007, introduced stricter requirements for acquiring citizenship.
Even before then Slovak legislation required that an applicant have at least five years of permanent residence in Slovakia and have a basic knowledge of the Slovak language, but the police were not obliged to check an applicant’s integrity, the Sme daily wrote. The ČTK newswire reported that Saric has had permanent residence in Slovakia since 1998.
The Serbian police prepared a trap for the suspect twice, in January and in December last year, but he managed to escape both times. SITA wrote that according to Serbian media, Saric is a member of a drug-dealing clan led by the boss of the Montenegrin Mafia, which has its own cocaine plantation in South America.
The Serbian Special Court has already ruled that Saric’s property should be confiscated based upon a request made by that country’s special prosecutor for organised crime.
22. Feb 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff