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9 September 1959 |
Kalinovac, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia
Owner of D Trade, Futura Plus, Famis LLC
|Net worth||€2.3 billion|
Stanko "Cane" Subotić (born 9 September 1959, Kalinovac, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia) is a Geneva-based Serbian businessman. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment for abuse of office,[clarification needed] but the case is on appeal.
Subotić is the founder and owner of the Denmark-based company EMI (Emerging Marketing Investment) and D Trade (based in Belgrade, Serbia), dealing in sales and distribution of wine, paper and real estate. Additionally, he is the co-owner of Serbia-based Futura Plus, a commercial distribution network in Southeastern Europe. In Serbia, his companies employ over 4,000 people.
Additionally, Subotić is the co-owner of the meat processing factory Famis LLC (founded in 2002 in Serbia), as well as distribution companies in Greece and Russia dealing in non-alcoholic beverages and sporting equipment. Moreover, he bought hundreds of acres of vineyards in France, which he uses for production of the wine Louis Max, which has been served at the White House. He began investing in this company in 1989, and since January 2007 he is the sole owner of Max Holding.
Subotić owns a wine cellar in downtown Belgrade and the luxury hotel Villa Montenegro on Sveti Stefan island. In March 2007, this hotel was awarded the "Five Stars Diamond" award for the quality of service by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.
Early life and business career
Subotić came from a working-class family, to which he was born as the sixth and youngest child. During early childhood, he started working in his father's carpentry shop. A Serbian national by birth, since 1999 He completed the streamlined High School of Economics in Ub, where he met his future wife Jagoda. He started earning an independent living in his early twenties when he left for France and got a job as a tailor. He opened a chain of clothing boutiques, and developed his own wholesale and retail.
During mid-1980s he invested into Serbian economy, by supplying civil engineering equipment which he judged to be in short supply. Subotić started his private business career in 1991 following the collapse of communism in SFR Yugoslavia by founding a company named MIA and opening a sewing shop that cooperated with state owned retailer Robne kuće Beograd. From that time until the year 1993, his primary business activities were textile production and confection.
By 1995, he entered the cigarette trade in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a country under a UN imposed trade embargo. Subotić owned two duty-free shops at the Đeneral Janković border crossing and in 1996 became exclusive distributor of foreign cigarette producers such as Philip Morris and British American Tobacco. His cigarette trading business was initially based in Serbia, but, in 1997, after Vlada "Tref" Kovačević and Radovan "Badža" Stojičić were murdered, Subotić relocated his entire business to Montenegro and moved there, where he established high political and business connections with the republic's Prime Minister Milo Đukanović and ruling DPS party president Svetozar Marović.
In 2003, Subotić opened a subsidiary in Montenegro, which is in operation to this day. The same year, he acquired the Serbian company Duvan, owner of a large distribution network which included retail booths and kiosks selling printed media and other consumer goods, and founded the company Futura plus. After acquiring Duvan, in 2004, he began collaborating with the German media holding group WAZ, which brought him new points of sale as it acquired a majority stake at Politika distribution. Futura Plus now owns the largest media distribution network in Serbia with a large number of kiosks and newspaper stands, previously owned by Duvan, Politika distribution, Borba distribution and Duvanpromet from Kragujevac. After Serbian Prosecution raised accusations against Subotic in 2008, WAZ Media Group left Futura plus. In Montenegro he founded a company named Montenegro Futura that owns a similar distribution network throughout the country.
In 2005, Subotić moved his business headquarters to Cyprus. During the Spring 2007, Subotić additionally expanded his activities with two large investments in Montenegro: purchasing a piece of the island of St Nikola near the port of Budva from a Serbian businessman, Nenad Đorđević, for approximately €24 million and announcing his plans to build a luxury hotel worth €20 million on the St. Stefan island.
Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Subotić faced numerous allegations and accusations of smuggling, tax evasion, and state budget defrauding stemming from 1990s cigarette trade in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that was under a UN trade embargo at the time.
The Nacional affair
In May 2001, Croatia's Nacional newsmagazine, owned and edited by Ivo Pukanić, published detailed accounts of Subotić's activities, claiming they involved organized crime figures as well as the highest echelons of the Montenegrin and Serbian political regimes. Largely unknown and unexposed up to that point, the entire Nacional affair forced Subotić into the public limelight as he began giving occasional interviews in the Serbian media. He responded that the news stories were fabrications paid for and planted by a competing Croatian tobacco producer, Tvornica duhana Rovinj, supposedly threatened by Subotić's plans to jointly build a tobacco factory in Serbia with British American Tobacco in 2001.
Over the coming years, Subotić filed a series of lawsuits against Nacional and its owner/editor-in-chief Pukanić in Zagreb on the grounds of slander. In Croatia, Subotić was represented by a Croatian lawyer, Slobodan Budak. Nacional claimed that "Subotić lost each one of the 26 lawsuits he filed against the magazine", while Subotić's lawyer in Serbia, Vlado Pavićević, claimed his client has "at least nine court verdicts in his favour".
2006 Insajder interview
In mid 2006, Subotić was hit with a new series of accusations when findings of the 2003 Serbian police investigation (soubriquetted "Mreža") were obtained by several media outlets, including B92. In it, Subotić's involvement in cigarette trade between 1995 and 1999 is characterized as "smuggling without taxation made possible by high ranking members of Milošević's regime".
On 15 May 2006, Subotić's taped interview with journalist Brankica Stanković aired on B92's Insajder programme. In it he claimed to have been shown the results of "Mreža" investigation way back in 2003 by then Serbian Interior Minister Dušan Mihajlović. Subotić added that Mihajlović reassured him on the same occasion that he (Subotić) is not in any way subject of investigation, telling him that "your (Subotić's) business activities during the 1990s were found to be legit".
2007 'Mreža' arrests and Interpol arrest warrant
On 6 June 2007 Serbian police arrested eight individuals, which it believes were part of a 15-person criminal group organized by Subotić. Subotić himself was not placed under arrest that day, because the police could not find him, however, an Interpol arrest warrant was later issued for him. The arrested individuals were placed in a 48-hour detention, and they include:
- Milan Popivoda, former chief of Novi Sad state security branch
- Miodrag Zavišić, former chief of Novi Sad police department
- Nebojša "Tarzan" Nikolić and Drage Dodeski, former federal customs bureau employees
- Milan "Mrgud" Milanović, former employee of different federal bodies and a prominent member of Škorpioni paramilitary unit. Since 2002 co-owner of Famis d.o.o. meat factory with Subotić
- Milan "Pekin" Ranković, an employee in Subotić's MIA company
- Ivana Olujić, accused of acting as a proxy in cigarette smuggling
- Miroslav "Miki" Pešić, accused of making payments on behalf of Subotić's MIA company.
On the same day, the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP) issued a press release saying: "These arrests occurred following a detailed and thorough investigation taking place over several years in collaboration with special persecutor's office in regard to "Mreža" investigation. Subotić's group is being accused of illegally importing cigarettes and selling them on the black market. By doing so they defrauded the state budget of DM80 million in unpaid tax. The money they made in Serbia was transferred to their accounts in Cyprus via Montenegro and Macedonia".
In addition to Subotić, six other individuals were sought by police on the same occasion: Ivan Krčmaričić, Đorđe Subotić, Luka Nenadić, Jovica Ranđelović, Stevan Banović, and Nikola Milošević (Subotić's nephew). Subotić eventually responded to the charges through a press release forwarded to Montenegrin state news agency MINA on 26 June 2007. He claimed innocence adding he did business in line with widely used practices at the time, and added, "The goal of this thing that's started by Belgrade is to smear my reputation in front of my business partners in Serbia and the rest of Europe, but I'm not the main target. This will turn into one more attack on Montenegro by those that are pathologically obsessed with its independence, like they were with Đinđić all until his death." Subotić accused Montenegrin opposition leader Nebojša Medojević of insinuations and of "writing newspaper columns that helped create the atmosphere for the murder of Zoran Đinđić". Subotić concluded by saying: "Medojević and Vojislav Koštunica are working on the satanization of the Montenegrin state by creating an impression of its supposed criminalization".
2008 arrest and two-month detention in Moscow
On 28 April 2008, Subotić was arrested in Moscow at Sheremetyevo International Airport based on an Interpol red notice warrant issued against him by the Serbian police. Though initially it looked like he'd be transferred to native Serbia where he's indicted on smuggling and tax fraud charges, and despite the fact that Serbian authorities sent an official extradition request for him to Russia, the Russian authorities let him go free on 27 June 2008.
B92 Interview, 16 March 2010
Subotić accused Nebojša Medojević, the Montenegrin party leader of Movement for Change of having organized a manhunt on him on the orders of Serbian businessman Milan Beko and Delta Holding owner Miroslav Mišković after they stole 50 million from Subotić to buy Port of Belgrade and daily newspaper Večernje Novosti. Medojević had claimed that Subotić and Darko Šarić had been hiding in a Montenegrin police villa in Žabljak, while Subotić claimed in an interview that he was in Geneva, Switzerland.
-  Archived 22 May 2006 on Wayback Machine.
- "Mira i Marko predvodili jednu od mafijaških grupa". Blic.co.rs. 9 June 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- "VAC prodao udeo u "Futuri plus"". B92.net. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
-  Archived 27 September 2007 on Wayback Machine.
- "Stanko Subotić Cane: Moj deo istine". Arhiva.glas-javnosti.rs. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- "Политика Online". Politika.rs. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- "Политика Online". Politika.rs. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
-  Archived 8 June 2007 on Wayback Machine.
- "Subotić: Nisam švercovao cigarete". B92.net. 26 June 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- "Cane uhapšen u Moskvi". Blic.rs. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
-  Archived 9 July 2008 on Wayback Machine.
-  Archived 21 December 2013 on Wayback Machine.