Ericsson ‘broke Milosevic sanctions’

Ericsson broke UN sanctions against Slobodan Milosevic's Serbia by selling a mobile phone system to the country mid-way through the war in the former Yugoslavia, a Swedish tabloid has reported.

The sale to Serbian mobile operator Mobtel was made via BK Trade in Russia, and included an NMT mobile phone network, 15 base stations and 1,000 telephones, according to Expressen. Mobtel was partly controlled by the Serbian regime under Milosevic, and partly by his close friend Bogoljub Karic, a businessman and politician.

Milosevic is now being held in the Hague, where he is on trial at the international war crimes tribunal on 66 charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The complicated arrangements for buying the Ericsson equipment was planned by the Serbian government in 1994, according to minutes of a board meeting. BK Trade was founded with the sole purpose of carrying out the deal, as a way of getting round the UN and EU sanctions, which forbade all trade with Serbia.

Ericsson told Expressen that they had been conned. Although they had suspected that there was something suspect about the purchaser, they say that they had carried out all the usual checks. In addition, they had received an end-user certificate that was approved by Russian authorities.

TT/The Local