Ilija Dević, former majority owner of ATP Vojvodina, by estimation of the European Union the only investor suffering the damage, about the subject from the list of 24 compromised privatizations

Have the citizens of Serbia ever asked themselves about the price of the legal insecurity the domestic businessmen are exposed to?

It is very difficult to calculate the amount, but my example gives the opportunity to anticipate that.

As a businessman with many years of work experience I bought ATP Vojvodina. During the first year I accomplished the obligatory investments, 200 new workers were employed, I bought new buses, enhanced number of the transport lines and expanded the company activities. I started a new, about 30 million Euros worth investment in accordance with the contract signed with the City of Novi Sad and built the auto center complex with intercity and international bus station and EvoBus Setra and Mercedes Service center. It was the biggest domestic investment of funds coming from legal accounts, but not from the paradise islands.

However, the City of Novi Sad did not comply with their part of the contract, the bus station could not start to work and the entire company with 500 employees bankrupted.

In one of numerous court proceedings it was found out that I was the one suffering the damage.

According to the findings of the experts from the Institute and Faculty appointed by the court in three cases for the damage compensation to ATP Vojvodina and me, the damage was estimated in the total amount of 300 million Euros.

As the experts have estimated, the company and I have suffered so big damage because of ten years lasting bankruptcy and because of the unfulfilled contract.

The amount is still the same and it has been waiting for the court decisions.

In case the courts reject the damage demands under pressure of the state, the company will bankrupt and the banks which previously prevented execution of one final decision which could have covered all their demands, will start demanding paying of the debts from me as the guarantee of the investment. In case the decisions respect opinion of the experts, the damage of playing with the private property will fall to the burden of the state.

However, by destroying the bases of the law, the state has sent the message through the court that nobody is guilty for that.

In this way I have become a big example, paradigm of the legal uncertainty. But it is not only me who pays the price. The price is much bigger, because nobody wants to bring their funds into this country without demanding high guarantees because of such improvisations. Legal certainty has become the goods in the market and the state has been paying it to the investors through subsidies, free ground, tax exemptions, cheap and disadvantaged workforce … In fact, all of us are paying that. How much – we do not know. All the contracts with the foreign investors are secret, unlike the one I concluded with the authorities of Novi Sad and which could be seen by everybody. Maybe that was the point where I made the mistake because it was obvious that I was building the facilities on my own ground, that I got neither subsidies nor any other privileges. Besides, by taking away the facilities I had built, they tried to stigmatize me, to declare me guilty for the damage caused by the City.

That is why I am sending the message to all the businessmen, - especially the domestic ones, to think well and properly about the things that happened to me and to some other people, before they make the decision and start an investment.

ATP “Vojvodina“ looked like this

before being privatized


ATP“Vojvodina“ looks like this

after being privatized


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