Young Milosevic rumored to have visited Riga

  • 2001-03-08
  • Jorgen Johansson
RIGA - Rumors abounded in Riga on Feb. 28 that Marko Milosevic, the son of ousted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, was in town on his way to seek asylum in Africa.

A former high-ranking Yugoslav security official said on Yugoslav television Feb. 28 that Marko Milosevic, who has remained under police surveillance since his father's downfall, was in Latvia.

Neither Latvian border guards, the Foreign Ministry nor the Interior Ministry could confirm the report, but said it was possible he managed to slip by border guards using fake travel documents.

"We have checked this information with our colleagues at the Interior Ministry and the border guards, but nobody has confirmed this information," spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry Liga Bergmane said.

The Riga daily Business and Baltija recently reported that a man with a similar name was in Riga for several hours in January. Meanwhile, Russian officials have denied recent reports that the young Milosevic was staying at a hotel in the Siberian city of Irkutsk surrounded by members of the Russian mafia.

A Belgrade daily reported March 4 that Marko Milosevic had been living in Russia since he left Yugoslavia when his father's government was overthrown last October.

Milosevic reportedly fled Yugoslavia after encounters with business competitors there. He is suspected of cheating Yugoslavia out of millions of dollars of tax-free imports of various products such as cigarettes and perfumes.

He is rumored to own a casino and hotel in Latvia.

Arijs Jansons, deputy chief of Latvia's border guards, said he had no information confirming or denying the entry of Marko Milosevic to Latvia, but said "any person can try to enter the country under false papers."

He also admitted that border guards do not have a recent photograph of Milosevic. "We had a photo some years ago, but the quality was so poor we couldn't use it," Jansons said.

The Interior Ministry declined to comment on the allegations that he was in Latvia.

The family and former associates of Slobodan Milosevic have been put on a European Union "black list," which denies them entry to any EU country along with other European countries that have agreed to sign the document.

Milosevic tried unsuccessfully to enter China via a flight from Moscow soon after his father's ouster. He was, however, turned back by Chinese border guards on the grounds that he lacked a proper entry visa.

His uncle Borislav Milosevic is Yugoslavia's ambassador to Russia.