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April 24, 1995
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 186
Images of a Life

Horses Helicopters, Aircraft and Cheques

by Uros Komlenovic

"Ceda Mihajlovic showed up in my headquarters late in 1993. He was brought in by a respected public figure, a proven patriot. He introduced Mihajlovic as a rich Serb from South Africa and that's how he acted. His Mercedes had the first South African registration we ever saw. He showed us photographs of his restaurant in Cape Town and villas he allegedly owned there; he said he had a stable of race horses near Budapest; a 10 ton cargo plane in Skoplje and that he co-owned a diamond mine in South Africa. He also told us that he had two helicopters at Belgrade airport and that he recently made a donation to one of our humanitarian organizations of 110,000 dollars but it later turned out that was a lie. We were impressed we never guessed who we were dealing with."

Vlahovic said Mihajlovic gave them 1,000 German marks, a radio station worth 4,000 marks, an arm chair, batteries for the radio station and other things and he also covered some minor expenses when Vladimir Zhirinovski came to Yugoslavia.

"Also, Mihajlovic promised us 30,000 dollars in writing," Vlahovic added. "He promised to get permits from the sanctions committee for humanitarian aid imports. We paid his ticket to New York. He left and returned to tell us that he secured permits for imports of 2,000 tons of medicine and medical goods. We never got the permits and I think he also got money from other companies."

And while Mihajlovic was away all the time (Budapest, New York, South Africa), the blockade headquarters were contacted by a Bosnian Serb.

"The man asked us to help him find Mihajlovic because he took 20,000 marks from the Bosnian Serb to import coffee from Greece. Another young man appeared from Zemun with a similar story. Two brothers from Sumadija lost the most. Ceda MIhajlovic tricked them out of 45,000 marks for fertilizer imports. They threatened to kill him. When he called me I told him about the threat and he said he'd given back their money later. He said he was in New York but we found out that he had been using his Mercedes which was in a garage in Belgrade."

Vlahovic said Mihajlovic came back and gave them a cheque for 30,000 dollars as a gift. This one was from the Meryl Linch bank in the US. The cheques he gave the man from Bosnia and the two brothers was from a bank in Cape Town.

I told him that the man from Bosnia claimed the cheque he gave him was checked out by a Bulgarian bank and bounced. He replied that that was not true, that it takes at least three months for a cheque to clear and that we could cash it anywhere abroad. Some time later, in mid-94, I went to Moscow to visit Zhirinovski and managed to check out the cheque he gave me in just three days and it bounced. That seems to be that story with the 110,000 dollars. Mihajlovic also offered a Serbian political party 500,000 marks for their election campaign in 1993. We also learned that he took money for us abroad but we haven't confirmed that yet."

Vlahovic said he investigated and found out that Mihajlovic does not have helicopters in Belgrade, nor horses in Hungary and that he had been banned from South Africa. He also mentioned a document (allegedly forged) stamped with the Botswana state seal but did not want to give VREME details.

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