Serbian police officers escort Veljko Belivuk, leader of the ultra supporters of Partizan, the Belgrade football club that has become a beacon of the underworld, during a raid on the Partizan stadium in Belgrade February 4, 2021.

The specialized organized crime court in Belgrade has become a bunker guarded by hooded armed police. Monday, November 7, in this anonymous building in the Serbian capital, more than 30 members of the most dangerous mafia clan in the Balkans in recent years, accused of committing at least seven murders with sadistic cruelty. And anything their leader, 37-year-old Veljko Belivuk, nicknamed “Velya Nevolya” (“Velya-problem”), who appears exchanging loud laughter and code signs with his comrades, can compromise the leaders. country with almost 7 million people.

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At the start of his trial in mid-October, this round-eyed colossus, wearing a polo shirt too tight for his imposing muscles, denied all the murders he is accused of, but maintained that he had carried out various intimidation operations on behalf of ruling party, Serbian Progressive Party, of which he was a member. “I led a group that served the needs of the state”, said at the helm this former leader of the ultra supporters of Partizan, the Belgrade football club that has become an underworld landmark. He claims, for example, that in 2016 he sent his big hands to demolish Belgrade’s old district with a hammer and excavator, at the indirect request of then-Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, who became president, who wanted to run big real estate projects there.

Explosive statements, immediately dismissed by the interested director. “I have never seen or heard of any of them in my life.defended himself on television by Mr Vučić, a former nationalist who now claims to be pro-European who has dominated local political life since 2014. If that were the case, not only would I not become President of Serbia, but I would be ready to spend the rest of my life in prison. » If it’s hard to know who’s telling the truth in this convoluted game where witnesses have an annoying tendency to retract and where justice has never been exemplary, one thing’s for sure: all of these fine people, with the notable exception of Mr. Vucic, are currently in court. thanks to an impressive infiltration operation by the French, Belgian and Dutch police.

“Information level” never before obtained

Between late 2019 and early 2021, investigators from these three countries managed to break into an encrypted messaging service called Sky ECC. Sold on the Dark Web, it was especially prized by criminals around the world, starting with the Balkan drug and cigarette trade clans. Now in the hands of the security forces of the countries of the region, the tens of millions of messages exchanged there have allowed in recent months to provoke unprecedented repression against the mafia, which flourished for thirty years on the ashes of the former Yugoslavia. First of all, these investigations revealed the extent of mafia infiltration in these states that aspire to join the European Union someday.

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