Serbia, “Investor” roulette for Beobanka

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The public learned the other day that the Ministry of Construction issued a permit to the Novi Sad company Astoria Properties for the reconstruction of the former Beobanka building on Belgrade’s Zeleni Venec.

When announcing the news, the competent state authorities did not go into the reasons why it took six years from the sale of the building to the issuance of the permit, but the relevant minister reminded that the realization of this project began while he was performing his duties in the city of Belgrade, he promised that the building will become one of of the most beautiful business buildings and pointed out that he is proud that “the building of architect Milica Šterić, one of the first female architects of post-war modernism in Serbia, is finally returning to the map of Belgrade”.

The authorities often like to exploit the terms “beautiful” and “pride” when they want to hide the ugly and shameful details of their “projects”. And it was the “Beobanka project” that showed how the government works in the capital and the country, exposed the channels of intertwined murky interests, dubious actions, cover-up and shed light on the toxic connection between politics and business.

And in the fall of 2016, the government, just like now, boasted about the future beauty of the building, which will be reconstructed and turned into the first “green” building (a solitaire with green facades) in Serbia, which will justify the name Green Wreath. Then (on November 23), the government, after five unsuccessful attempts, sold the former Beobanka building for 4.25 million euros.

The buyer was the company Stattwerk from Stuttgart, represented by manager Miraš Mirašević and saleswoman Slavica Mirašević.

After signing the purchase agreement, Miraš did not want to say for what purposes the building with 13 floors and 10 thousand square meters was purchased.

In the bidding for the purchase of the building, Miraš and Slavica won over the Israeli company Almogim Holdings, which a little later (2017) bought the former US Embassy building and with Yossi Avrahami built the super-luxury residential and business complex “Kneza Miloša Residence” in three years.

Only a year and a half after the purchase did Stattwerk receive information about the buyer’s intentions and the future appearance of the Beobanka building. The “gum” about the solitaire with the green facade and the German company’s intention to buy the neighboring buildings (EPS and the Tax Administration) was released to the media, in order to turn all three buildings into a unique green oasis.

“Stattwerk expressed its desire and received a positive signal from EPS, the Ministry of Finance and other authorities for the purchase of these two buildings,” was heard at the promotion of the conceptual solution that included all three buildings. The estimated value of the project was around 30 million euros, and completion was planned for 15 months.

It is said that the new “green” building will house an eco-hub center, office space for ecologically oriented companies and an apart-hotel, and on the roof there will be a viewpoint and an eco-restaurant.

On the same day that the Beobanka building was sold, doubts arose about the quality of the transaction. One opposition politician posted a tweet in which he claimed that the building was (dis)sold for 498 euros per square meter and attached a screenshot of the page from the Agency for Business Registers (APR), which shows that the company is Stattwerk doo.

Belgrade-Stari grad (subsidiary company of the Stuttgart company) was founded nine days before the purchase of the Beobanka building and that its headquarters are at Hilandarska street 8. Understandably, the company’s founding date (November 14, 2016) attracted the most attention. But he missed a key detail – the company’s registration number (21242454) and tax identification number, PIB (109784557).

Today, when entering the registry number 21242454 or PIB 109784557 in the APR “search” program, the company Brankov Business Centar from Novi Sad, Kralja Aleksandra 12. appears, which was founded on the same day as the Belgrade firm Statwerk and with the same activity code (7022 – consulting activities related to business and other management).

The APR database on the Brankov Business Center company in the section “registrar’s decision” offers documents from which it can be seen that on November 14, 2016, Miraš Mirašević, a Croatian citizen, was issued a decision on the establishment of the company Stattwerk in Belgrade (as a founding contribution, he paid two times 100 dinars).

And then on December 15, 2016, the registrar APR issued a new decision, which shows that the new owner is Statwerk doo. becomes the company Stattwerk GmbH & Co KG from Stuttgart, Firnhaberstrasse 5/A/B with a 99 percent share and one percent owned by Mirašević. At the same time, an increase in the basic capital by 43,124,795 dinars is noted.

Stattwerk doo no longer exists in APR. White City. In the item “decision of the registrar” from 2016 to 2021, there is not a single document that proves any status change that would link the companies Stattwerk doo, Brankov Business Center and Astoria Properties. By the way, the sole owner of Brankov Business Center is Astoria Properties, and the 100% owner of both companies is Miroslav Stanković.

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