BELGRADE – In 2001 Serbia sold off its gold, writes Serbian daily “Vecernje Novosti”. In succession from the former Yugoslavia, Serbia inherited nearly 17 tons of gold, and there was another five tons in the NBS (National Bank of Serbia) vault. All of the golden bars were sold by the new, Democrat government. The fate of the money is still unknown, and NBS claims that the competent authorities are working on uncovering the mystery surrounding the missing money.

In the period from 2000 to 2012 30.4 billion euros from abroad entered Serbia, and foreign exchange reserves were increased by 9.8 billion euros. To these should be added arrangements with the International Monetary Fund. This raises the question of why the gold was sold if the country had such an inflow of foreign currency.

“In the succession, of 46.1 tons of Yugoslavia’s gold 16.8 tons went to FRY, which was sold in the period 2001 – 2002,” said NBS for “Vecernje Novosti”. “Until the moment of unblocking the funds, on the accounts of the SFRY in the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Basel were golden bars of the former state, which was managed by the National Bank of Yugoslavia before the blockade. It, independently of the gold which was on the account in Switzerland, in the second half of 2001 also contended about five tons of gold, which was subsequently sold in the international market. NBS does not know the details of these transactions at the moment.

Although Jovanka Tabakovic, the governor of the NBS, recently said that she does not know where 46.1 tons of gold of SFRY went missing, one thing is certain – they were divided and sold. There is only one tone in Basel. The great enigma, however, is what has been done with the money gained from selling the gold. In 2001 succession 8.5 tons of monetary precious metal, which was at the time in Belgrade, was divided among the former republics. Serbia and Montenegro received about 40 percent. The rest of the foreign exchange reserves in gold are kept in the vaults of the NBS.

First Yugoslav monetary reserves in gold bars originate from the gold that the Privileged National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbia gained by its establishment on July 2 1884 as a private limited company. Serbia brought this treasure into the joint state and as such, in large part – lost it.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was forced to agree to the division of monetary gold. The government urgently agreed to a divorce or succession in the American style – everything that was brought into a marriage is shared when parting ways.

The gold brought by the Privileged National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbia into the new National Bank of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (SHS) on the basis of paid-in capital and the substrate (21 tons of gold), as well as gold produced in mines in Serbia (about 53.5 tons), substantially exceeded the amount that was blocked at the BIS in Basel. Despite this, however, after the October changes, authorities claimed that “there is no gold with Serbian stamp” in Basel.

When Milan Dinkic, the former governor of the NBS, was asked about the sale of the golden bars, he said that during his mandate the foreign exchange reserves of the NBS increased by almost ten times. However, he said, he knows nothing about the existance of the golden bars or their sale.