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Rade Rakonjac, Arkan's murdered former bodyguard
By Stevan Dojčinović , Bojana Jovanović
Rade Rakonjac, 52, the former bodyguard of Željko “Arkan” Ražnatović,
was killed Wednesday at noon as he sat with two friends in a Belgrade
Two gunmen shot Rakonjac five times in the neck and chest, and he
died en route to the Military Medical Academy hospital. With Rakonjac at
the Marikicafe were Stojan Novaković, 58, who was wounded, and former
BC Beograd and BC Partizan basketball player Goran Ristanović, 57.
According to eyewitness statements, the assailants fled in an Alfa
Romeo. Fifteen minutes later, the car was set ablaze in the Voždovac
neighborhood of Belgrade.
In addition to Arkan, Rakonjac had another important link in the
underworld – he was close to the notorious Serbian criminal and former
Zemun clan leader Luka Bojović.
Rakonjac and Bojović knew each other from the early 1990s, when both
were members of Arkan's Serbian Volunteer Guard. Following Arkan’s
murder in 2000, the two continued to collaborate.
In a police chart obtained
by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the
Center for Investigative Journalism in Serbia (CINS) Rakonjac is listed
as an important collaborator in Bojović's group. According to the
chart, Rakonjac was subordinate to Milos “Pižon” Petrović and Vladimir
Mijanović, who both answered directly to Bojović. Mijanović was arrested
alongside Bojović in February 2012 while having dinner at a restaurant
in the Spanish city of Valencia.
In 2005, Bojović and Rakonjac were tried for beating Mirko Elezović
in 2002 in the Belgrade Zoo and robbing him of €7,200 (US$ 9,800).
Belgrade courts dismissed the charges.
According to the Special Prosecutor's Office, Bojović took over the
Zemun clan after its leaders, Dušan Spasojević and Mile Luković, were
killed in the 2003 police operation dubbed “Saber,” which was a response
to the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić.
Bojović is currently in jail in Spain, and Serbian prosecutors have
accused him of organizing the murder of three local criminals.
Bojović’s former associate, Sretko Kalinić, testified that Bojović tried to kill Andrija Drašković as revenge for the murder of Arkan.
A few years ago, Bojović came into conflict with Slobodan Šaranović
and his associates and there were killings on both sides. Prosecutors
say Šaranović ordered the murder of Nikola Bojović, the brother of Luka
Bojović, because he thought that Luka Bojović ordered the murder of his
own brother, Branislav, a long-time powerful member of the Serbian
Šaranović was arrested in Montenegro for this murder, but released
from custody after the Montenegrin court refused to extradite him to
Serbia. Read more about it in the article “Montenegro: Court Bars Extradition In Murder Case.”
Serbian media have speculated that Rakonjac was a victim of these
conflicts, but police have yet to report clear evidence of a connection.
View Luka Bojović’s profile, put together by the OCCRP and CINS for a more in-depth look.
Serbia: Crime Figure Linked to Trade Group
By Stevan Dojcinovic and Jelena Vasic (CINS)
The chairwoman of Serbia’s influential gambling trade association has
been an employee and director for businesses owned by Serbian crime
figure Andrija Draskovic for at least the past 17 years.
Jakta, the trade group, has been aggressively working with government
officials to shape gaming laws, train law enforcement officials and
regulators and lobby local, regional and European governments. It has
set itself up as not only a group of Serbian experts but a regional
player in influencing everything related to casinos and gambling.
Mirjana Acimovic, 51, is president of the Belgrade-based Jakta (from
the Latin word for “roll”, as in dice). She worked for Draskovic as far
back as 1997, when he appointed her director of his company Fun d.o.o (later renamed DLM AT Holding Group) that owned two casinos and the popular downtown Havana nightclub, among others.
Draskovic is listed as the owner of Maestral Nautika d.o.o,
an active trading company in Croatia, where Acimovic currently serves
as director although the company has not filed any paperwork since 2008.
Acimovic said in an interview with reporters from the Center for
Investigative Reporting in Serbia (CINS) and the Organized Crime and
Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) that she no longer works with
Draskovic and sees no problem with the relationship. She has had coffee
with him once in 15 months, she said.
“My relationship back then with him was just professional. The man
was in prison until recently and we saw each other once after he got
out,” she said. “That was a private meeting and that’s irrelevant.”
Serbian authorities who worked with Jakta were asked if they were
aware of the connection between Acimovic and Draskovic but none would
answer specific questions.
According to the Jakta website, the organization represents 38
companies that own slot clubs, produce gambling machines or maintain
them. The association is involved in writing laws with the Tax
Administration, lobbying state institutions for favorable laws, helping
companies get gaming permits and helping gambling addicts get treatment................
According to documents OCCRP/CINS obtained from the Ministry of Labor,
Jakta’s membership has included Fil-Sar and Lutrija Filnik, companies
controlled respectively by Montenegrin crime boss Brano Saranovic before
his death in 2009 and his brother, Slobodan, who was arrested last year
in connection with a murder of Luka Bojovic’s brother.
Trying to climb the ladder in Europe
Acimovic has also been appointed chairwoman of the Responsible Gaming
Committee in Euromat, the European Gaming and Amusement Federation that
represents the industry at the EU level.