Milosevic's son escapes trial for threatening father's opponents

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Marko, 30, was accused of threatening his father's opponents with a chainsaw in March 2000. Openly hated by many Serbs, he fled to Russia after his father fell from power in October 2000.

But the case was dropped over the weekend as one of the victims altered his statement and said he "did not remember Marko taking part in the incident". Interpol's arrest warrant for Marko has now been dropped.

Family members of the victim, Zoran Milovanovic, admit he had to give in to constant pressures by people close to the Milosevics.

For many in Serbia, this is another example of Slobodan Milosevic's continuous rule, despite the fact that he is on trial for genocide and war crimes at the international tribunal in The Hague. It is also viewed as a political deal between Mr Milosevic's Socialists and the conservative Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica.

Marko was known for his lavish lifestyle as he exploited his position and amassed enormous wealth through his monopoly on smuggling cigarettes and petrol during Serbia's isolation in the 1990s.