Serbian president & family illegally wiretapped over 1,500 times, including by ‘high-ranking officials,’ investigation reveals
The findings were announced by Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin after a meeting with the National Security Council, with the president declaring that an investigation had uncovered 1,572 examples of wiretapping conducted with no legal basis.
Vulin blamed “certain high-ranking officials in the Ministry of the Interior” for the “illegal” activity, suggesting it was a violation of the human rights of the president and his family. The ministry did not speculate on the officials’ motivation.
The Ministry of the Interior’s investigation required staff members to undergo a polygraph test to uncover who was responsible for the “illegal wiretapping of the president” and the revelation of his and his family’s private communications, even though the government claims none were incriminating.
The Prosecutor’s Office will now look at the findings and decide whether criminal charges should be filed.Also on rt.com Serbia starts pumping cheaper Russian natural gas via TurkStream pipeline
President Vucic has previously condemned the wiretapping as a “direct coup attempt,” suggesting it could have been “connected with foreigners” and have been part of a coordinated operation against him that dated back to 2014.
Local media has in the past claimed there are 55 foreign security services from 40 countries currently operating in Serbia. However, it is not clear if any of these agents is implicated in the latest allegation of illegal wiretapping.
The government is concerned the wiretapping could be linked to the president’s campaign against criminal organizations in the country, with authorities set to disband and arrest two such groups. However, it is yet to provide evidence supporting these fears.
In February, the head of the criminal police department, Bogdan Pushic, said the mafia had been preparing an attempt on the life of the president. According to Pushic, the assassination attempt was to take place at a ceremony to commemorate a monument to Stefan Nemanja, who is considered one of the founders of the independent Serbian state that existed in the Middle Ages. It was held on January 27, and was attended by Vucic.
According to Pushic, the criminal group behind the plan was liquidated in a special operation carried out by the security forces in February. Vulin suggested the assassination attempt may have been intended to curtail a large-scale program to eliminate organized crime in the country.
Vucic himself said he was not sure he was the intended target. “I cannot say for sure that I was the target of [the assassination attempt]. The police came to such conclusions based on the analysis of the data and the fact that the criminals had sniper rifles,” the president said.
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