Date: 28/06/2017

SBB Fears Data Abuse Under Order by the State

SBB expressed its strongest opposition to the way in which the Executive Director of SBB and the Vice-Presidents of the United Group for Marketing and Media received a call to report to the police in order to collect information on pre-criminal proceedings conducted by the Third Basic Public Prosecutors’ Office.

The call to report to the police on Monday as citizens was delivered Friday night at home. SBB warns that the Third Public Prosecutors’ Office and the Police have asked the company for information that is a business secret, and that there is no valid protection of these data in the hands of the competition. The Company expressed the suspicion that the powers of state bodies are being used to obtain data for the needs of a private criminal complaint.

When they decided to buy part ownership of TV Ultra, SBB wanted only to popularize a children's channel. However, when the former director and minority owner of TV Ultra Ratomir Kutlešić was dismissed from his position in 2014, he initiated a civil litigation against SBB that he lost. Nevertheless, he cast an imputation upon his successor as director.

Nothing would be controversial in the pre-investigation procedure that led to this. The Prosecutors’ Office did not decide to examine the company's operations for a period of time that was not covered by a criminal complaint, and during which Kutlešić was the director. The company’s lawyer Vladimir Beljanski said that this is not required by law because the police and prosecutors are requesting information from the company that is a business secret, and pointed out that Kutlešić asked the court for these data, but he couldn’t legally get it.

“Possible situations are if unauthorized persons come to such documents this could cause damage or use it in the form of unfair competition,” Beljanski said. “Accordingly, the risk of obtaining documentation beyond control is very high as the possibility of abuse of a criminal charges as an institute used within the framework of criminal law for some covert objectives that could be achieved by filing such a criminal complaint.”

Beljanski did not deny the legal obligation to submit the documentation requested by the authorities, but expressed serious suspicions that it could be abused. Namely, there are no guarantees that the data will not be taken away without authorization from the competent institutions and used for other purposes, especially since the SBB has strong indications that there are links between the appellant and a competitor.

“This is a situation that anyone could misuse. It is very easy to file a criminal complaint against a director of any company for the misuse of the position of the responsible person, which is a very wide-ranging criminal offense, and then give to the police the ability to seize everything that comes to them from that company, including confidential documents. On the basis of which the competition may generate a certain benefit or which would damage that particular company by using it.”

The Third Basic Public Prosecutor's Office responded that the case file has been transferred to the Third Basic Court in order to decide on SBB's appeal and, therefore, cannot specify why they asked for documentation that was controversial for the company. Nor did the police collect information itself and inform The Prosecutor's Office about it..

Stating that there is an obligation to provide documents, and under which laws their protection is assured, the Prosecutors’ Office acknowledges that they have no control over data while it is in the hands of the police, and that is one of the key problems for the SBB.

The Prosecutors’ Office submitted a request for the collection of necessary information by the police administration for the city of Belgrade. In consideration of the criminal charges, the Prosecutors’ Office could not assess whether the statements of criminal charges are probable and the data in the application did not provide sufficient grounds for deciding whether an investigation would be conducted. The Prosecutors requested that the relevant documentation must be obtained, but said that at the moment we are not in a position to declare whether it is precisely stated which documentation is to be obtained for what period of time or the part of the documentation received by the police based on its authorization, in consideration of the entire case file is in the court.

There is a problem: How to prevent unfair competition from accessing business secrets. Instead of a clear answer from the police and the Prosecutors' office, a new call to report arrived. On Friday night, two police officers delivered to the SBB Executive Director and Vice-Presidents of United Group for Marketing and Media a call to report to the Ministry of Interior on Monday morning.

Although the police could have sent the call by post or delivered it to the company's address, the Executive Director of SBB received it at her home address. She received the call to report as a citizen, but under threat of detention, if she does not respond.
Source: N1