A SEVEN-YEAR INVESTIGATION:How Nedim Uzunović and a web of associates took over Bosnalijek

Žurnal in English

A SEVEN-YEAR INVESTIGATION: How Nedim Uzunović and a web of associates took over Bosnalijek

Žurnal has been writing about crime in "Bosnalijek" for years. The focus of the long-term investigation is the director Nedim Uzunović, with whom everything begins, but also ends. Bosnalijek filed criminal charges against Uzunovic to the Moscow police in 2012, but despite that, he managed to return to the Sarajevo company through investors from Russia.

How Nedim Uzunović and a web of associates took over Bosnalijek
SIPA police officers searched Bosnalijek (Foto: Adi Kebo/zurnal.info)


Seven years after the launch of the investigation into the trading of Bosnalijek shares, searches and arrests began this morning in Sarajevo and Konjic. The first on the list is the director Nedim Uzunović, whose house in Sarajevo was searched by SIPA police officers on the order of the Prosecutor's Office of BiH, and after that, he was taken in for questioning.

Uzunović's lawyer, Mirsad Crnovršanin, confirmed for Žurnall that the search was over and that his client would be brought to SIPA to give a statement. During the day, the police searched the premises of some other members of the Uzunović family, as well as three other people.


Long-term crime


The action code-named "Trick" started early this morning.

"Activities are being carried out as part of a comprehensive investigation into the criminal offences of organized crime, money laundering, abuse of office and financial crime, within which illegal property gain in the multimillion amount has been recorded," the Prosecutor's Office of BiH said.

The Prosecutor's Office emphasizes that in the framework of this case, they conducted a long-term investigation with partner police agencies, within which they achieved international cooperation with the competent institutions of several countries.

Žurnal has been writing about crime in "Bosnalijek" for years.

Trading in Bosnalijek shares on the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE) lasted intensively during 2012 and 2013. The shares were bought through the offshore fund "Haden" from Luxembourg. This fund, which became the owner of 29.94 per cent of "Bosnalijek", was still only an intermediary of the real buyer "Imperia Pharma" from St. Petersburg. This Russian pharmaceutical company gained control over Bosnalijek with 32 million marks, and two years later (2015) they declared bankruptcy. In that way, they owed "Bosnalijek" the same amount that they invested in its purchase.

Assistance in the purchase of shares, "Haden" was provided by the brokerage company "Eurohaus" from Sarajevo, whose co-owner and director Zijad Blekić was recently indicted in the "Profit" case with 18 other people. One of the accused in this case is Edin Dizdar, a former member of the Supervisory Board of Bosnalijek and a representative of the “Haden” Fund.

The Prosecutor's Office of BiH launched an investigation in 2014, and in these seven years, at least four prosecutors have changed in this case: Oleg Čavka, Enisa Adrović, Dubravko Čampara and Džermin Pašić. We find out that the investigation, in this case, was intensified only a year ago, and the result is this morning's action.


Uzunović's business in Russia


The focus of many years of investigation is Uzunović, with whom everything begins. He was appointed director of Bosnalijek's representative office in Russia in 2005 and was fired in early 2012. In the same year, "Bosnalijek" filed several charges against him with the police in Moscow due to the disappearance of the documents on the establishment and registration of the representative office, the seal and documentation on the registration of the official car.

Uzunović was not worried about that. In the meantime, he found a way to return to Bosnalijek. In Russia, he found investors who started buying shares in the Sarajevo drug factory. After taking over the majority of the shares, the new owners appointed Uzunović as the head of the Management Board of "Bosnalijek". In return, Bosnalijek began delivering large quantities of drugs to owners in Russia.

Back in September 2016, Žurnal wrote that an investigation was being conducted against Uzunović and 12 other people: Edin Dizdar, Zijad Blekić, executive director for marketing and sales Admir Kešo, then president of the Supervisory Board and also director of the Legal Affairs Department of "Imperia Pharma" Konstantin Zevlov, owner of "Haden" Rossaine and Tom Donovan, director of the same company Passcal Hennuy, president of securities Hasan Ćelam, broker Alexander Hrkač, and companies "Haden", "Imperia Pharma" and "Erka Pharm" from Russia.


The role of Prime Minister Novalić and the FBiH Government


Two years later, SIPA filed a complaint to the Prosecutor's Office of BiH against Uzunović on suspicion that he was part of a group that bought 673 thousand Bosnalijek shares with  Bosnalijek money in 2016 through offshore companies. Part of those shares was owned by the Government of the Federation of BiH. In the same year, the FBiH Government and Prime Minister Fadil Novalic sold a 19.25 per cent stake in Bosnalijek for 23.3m KM. At that time, their key partner was the company "KBC Malta".

The FBiH Government did not announce at the time that the shares had been sold to an offshore company, but the announcement of the decision of the Securities Commission revealed that it was an offshore company "KBC Malta". This company is managed by Mangilal Kalani, business partner of director Uzunović. The same SIPA report from 2018 included Heinz Karta Randolph from Germany, Horst Michael Baier from the Czech Republic, Shaif Udin Alvia from Pakistan, Mangilal Kalani from India, and three offshore companies used for transactions.

We find out that this is the first step taken by the acting prosecutor in the "Bosnalijek" case, and the investigation also includes several other people. There could be more searches and arrests in the upcoming period.