To the People

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Vlade: Winner on the Court, Winner in Court

Former NBA center Vlade Divac recently won a Supreme Court case against the economic affairs ministry in his native Serbia, removing a series of roadblocks and making it likely he will purchase the (currently) pro-government Belgrade news daily Vecernje Novosti.
By obstructing what normally should have been a technical issue, the [ministry] appeared to be siding with those seeking to prevent privatisation of the daily, which is known for toeing the government's line.

According to the Supreme Court ruling, the agency had no legal grounds for halting the registration procedure, despite the current dispute over the state-owned portion of share capital. It is not clear whether the state share belongs to Serbia or the former joint state of Serbia-Montenegro.

The portion Divac's company was barred from holding was allowed to a group of small shareholders headed by Vecernje Novosti editor-in-chief and general manager Manojlo Vukotic.

The basketball star cried foul, saying the move was due to political pressure from within Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's party, which apparently is reluctant to lose the influence it enjoys via the country's highest-circulation paper.
More here from the Southeast European Times. Previous run-in with Serbian authorities here.