June 27, 2018 / 10:43 AM / 24 days ago

Serbian court sentences Milosevic's wife for real estate fraud - report

BELGRADE (Reuters) - A Belgrade court sentenced Mirjana Markovic, the wife of former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, to a year in jail on Wednesday for misappropriation of state property, ending a 15 year long trial, the Tanjug news agency said.

During the wars of the 1990s leading to the break-up of Yugoslavia, Markovic headed the neo-communist Yugoslav Left party, a group of powerful military and secret service officials and businessmen, who reaped benefits from Milosevic’s rule and exerted huge influence behind the scenes.

The Belgrade-based Higher Court found Markovic guilty of pushing two associates, a former government secretary and a director of a state real estate company, into allocating a state-owned apartment to her grandson’s nanny, Tanjug reported.

Neither Markovic, who lives in Russia and has repeatedly denied any wrongoing, nor her lawyers were available for comment. Markovic who fled to Russia after the fall of Milosevic in October 2000 was tried in absentia.

In 2010 Russian authorities told Belgrade that Markovic had been granted political asylum, preventing her extradition on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued in 2005.

Serbia’s pro-Western authorities arrested Milosevic in 2001 and later handed him over to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague to stand trial for his role in the Yugoslav wars. Milosevic died in a detention unit in 2006 before a verdict was announced.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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