A fugitive Serbian banker accused of stealing more than $130 million in a Ponzi scheme was extradited to Serbia from the Netherlands on Friday, the Dutch authorities confirmed Sunday.
The banker, Jezdimir Vasiljevic, better known at home as Boss Jezda, had mysteriously appeared and disappeared several times, often surrounded by bodyguards and wild rumors, until he was arrested in the Netherlands last April for submitting false asylum documents, Marlise Simons reports in The New York Times.
He was flown to Belgrade, the Serbian capital, despite his attempt to be deported to Ecuador, a country where he said he held citizenship.
Serbian officials said Mr. Vasiljevic was transferred immediately to Belgrade Central Prison and faced trial on charges of embezzling more than $38 million and stealing about $130 million from investors in his bank, Yugoskandic. His trial had started once before at a Belgrade court, but as it got under way, he jumped bail in 2007 and fled from Serbia.
…Mr. Vasiljevic’s bank and trading company prospered in the early 1990s when it scooped up valuable dollars and German marks by offering clients exceptional rates of 15 percent per month, or 50 percent per three months for such deposits. Hard currency was all the more valuable at a time of hyperinflation and embargoed goods, and diplomats at the time said they believed the currency was used to pay for oil, weapons and other vital imports. With all his wealth, he was also able to sponsor a widely publicized chess tournament between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.
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