Serbian tycoon jailed for 2.5 years for tax evasion


Belgrade (AFP)

One of Serbia's richest men was sentenced to two and a half years in jail on Friday for tax evasion, a Belgrade court said, in a high-profile retrial for the business tycoon Miroslav Miskovic.

The 72-year-old was found guilty of helping his son Marko evade taxes worth three million euros ($3.4 million).

The court "sentenced him to jail term of two years and six months and a fine worth eight million dinars (68,000 euros, $76,000)," the tribunal said in a statement.

His son was also handed a year-long house arrest.

Miskovic was initially handed five years in jail in 2016, but a re-trial was ordered by an appeal court.

Considered one of the most influential businessmen in the Balkans, Miskovic built his Delta Holding empire amid close ties with the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

After Milosevic's fall, he continued to expand the company -- which includes real estate, food production, retail and insurance -- throughout the region.

However he has recently begun to sell off some of his businesses, including supermarket chain Delta Maxi, which was bought by a Belgian company in 2011 for almost one billion euros.

In 2007 Forbes estimated Miskovic's wealth at $1 billion (890 million euros).

Delta Holding, which employs around 4,500 staff according to its website, is still considered one of the most profitable companies in Serbia.

Miskovic was arrested alongside his son in December 2012 but released several months later on a record 12-million-euro bail.