Siniša Mali (Serbian Cyrillic: Синиша Мали, pronounced [sǐniʃa mâːliː]; born 25 August 1972) is a Serbian economist and politician. He has been serving as the Minister of Finance in the Government of Serbia since 29 May 2018. Mali previously served as the mayor of Belgrade from 2014 to 2018, and as the President of the Temporary Council of Belgrade from 2013 to 2014.
|Minister of Finance|
|Assumed office |
29 May 2018
|Prime Minister||Ana Brnabić|
|Preceded by||Dušan Vujović|
Ana Brnabić (Acting)
|73rd Mayor of Belgrade|
24 April 2014 – 28 May 2018
|Preceded by||Dragan Đilas|
|Succeeded by||Andreja Mladenović (Acting)|
|Born||25 August 1972|
Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia
|Political party||Serbian Progressive Party|
|Education||Faculty of Economics|
|Alma mater||University of Belgrade|
Washington University in St. Louis
The discovery of plagiarism in Mali's doctoral dissertation was one of the triggers for the anti-government protests leading to the 12-day students' blockade of the university's main building and the decision of the University of Belgrade to revoke his doctorate.
Early life and educationEdit
Siniša Mali was born on 25 August 1972, in Belgrade. He graduated from the primary and secondary school – the 5th Belgrade Grammar School. In 1995, he completed his undergraduate studies, while in 1998 he received his master's degree at the Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade. During the undergraduate studies, Mali received the award as the student of the generation, and after completing his studies, he received the award for the best undergraduate dissertation.
As a Ron Brown scholar, in 1999, he received his master's degree in Finance (Master of Business Administration) from the Washington University in St. Louis, United States of America. During the studies, Mali worked as an assistant on five courses in the field of business finance. After studying, Mali received the award as the best student in the field of finance, as well as the award for being among the top 10 students of the top 20 business schools in the United States that year.
In 2013, Mali defended his doctoral dissertation "Value Creation through the Process of Restructuring and Privatisation – Theoretical Concepts and Achieved Results in Serbia" at the Faculty of Organisational Sciences, University of Belgrade.
Prior to his political career, Mali was a financial adviser in the private sector. He worked in several private companies that were engaged in advising in the field of financial services. Between 1995 and 1997, Mali worked for Deloitte &Touche in Belgrade, and in its Prague office from 1999 to 2001. During his stay in the United States, he worked at Credit Suisse First Boston in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group in New York City.
In 2001, he was appointed as the Assistant Minister of Privatisation in the Ministry of Economy and Privatisation. During his tenure, Mali was in charge of the execution of the privatisation process in the Republic of Serbia and preparation of the various laws in this field. At the end of that year, he moved to the Privatisation Agency, where he was the director of the Centre for Tender Privatisation. He remained in that position until the end of 2003.
From 2005 to 2008, Mali was the chairman of the real estate company "NCA Investment Group Doo Beograd".
Mali has served as a chairman of several boards of directors, including Fiat Automobil Srbija and Komercijalna banka, as well as chairman of the Supervisory Committee of Air Serbia. Additionally, he was a chairman of the Organising Committee of the 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four.
He is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and member of CFA Institute, Serbian Business Angels Network, Fulbright Alumni Association of Serbia, British-Serbian Business Club, as well as a member of the Golf Club Belgrade and a holder of a golf green card. Also, he is the holder of the portfolio manager license, issued by the Serbian Securities Commission.
Mali's private business was being investigated by the Serbian Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering (APML) in 2016. Earlier, during 2015, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Serbian investigative journalism outlet KRIK discovered that Mali controls 42 bank accounts, registered under himself, his wife, and his three underage children. These accounts were holding sums of money far exceeding his official salary. In addition, OCCRP/KRIK discovered and reported his purchase of 24 apartments on Bulgarian Black Sea coast in 2012 and 2013. APML suspected Mali's accounts and apartment purchases as a money-laundering scheme and reported it to the Higher Public Prosecutor's Office in Belgrade. The prosecutors dismissed the case, as they did not find evidence of criminal activity and therefore rejected to launch an investigation.
In 2012, Mali was appointed as the advisor for economic affairs to the First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić. A year later, Mali was appointed as the Chief Negotiator with investors from the United Arab Emirates. He conducted negotiations on a strategic partnership between the then state-owned company JAT and Etihad Airways that resulted in the establishment of Air Serbia.
Following the ousting of Mayor Dragan Đilas in November 2013, Mali was appointed as the President of the Temporary Council of Belgrade. After the 2014 election in Belgrade, Mali was elected as a Mayor on the proposal of the winning Serbian Progressive Party.
From the very first moment of his appointment in 2014, Mali initiated a comprehensive financial consolidation program in order to achieve sustainable fiscal stabilisation. During his tenure as the Mayor of Belgrade, Mali managed to halve the debt of the city of Belgrade, which in 2014 amounted to 1.2 billion euros, and to reduce the budget deficit by four times. Mali conducted a debt consolidation of public utility companies, which in the first three years of his tenure resulted in the net profit of 9.5 billion dinars. He managed to galvanize a significant number of investments’ projects that contributed to low unemployment. The most significant is the new hub project “Belgrade Waterfront” (total worth 3.5 billion euros), the opening of the first IKEA store and Hilton Hotels & Resorts’ brand in Serbia, as well as the opening of the Chinese automotive parts’ factory MEI TA Europe Ltd. During Mali's tenure, Moody's Public Sector Europe (MPSE) upgraded the City of Belgrade's long-term issuer rating to Ba3 from B1; the rating's outlook has been changed to stable from positive.
Mali's tenure as the Mayor of Belgrade was marked with numerous significant infrastructure projects such as completion of the Pupin Bridge over the river Danube, Košare's heroes Boulevard, water factory "Makiš 2", as well as the complete reconstruction of Slavija Square, Boulevard of Liberation, Roosevelt Street and Mije Kovačević Street. The railway station "Belgrade Center" (Prokop) started to operate after 40 years. The projects of expansion of the pedestrian zone in the city of Belgrade and facade restoration were initiated. Agreements were signed for the construction of a waste processing plant in Vinča, wastewater treatment plants in Veliko Selo and for the construction of the Obrenovac - Novi Beograd heating plant.
At the beginning of his tenure as the Minister of Finance, Mali has emphasised the two main goals; maintenance of the macroeconomic stability and achievement of the greater economic growth. In the first year of his tenure, the new set of laws has been passed with the aim to contribute to a better economic environment, reduce the tax burden on labour, incentive beginners in business, increase pensions and public sector salaries and the modernize Tax Administration.
On 4 July 2019, Mali was appointed as the president of the Coordination Body for Combat against Money laundering and Terrorism financing, where he replaced the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Nebojša Stefanović. Concurrently, he was appointed as the Governor of the Republic of Serbia at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
PhD thesis controversyEdit
Mali submitted his thesis at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, in 2002. Titled Privatization by the Method of Enterprises Selling - Theoretical Concepts and the Case of Serbia it was rejected in 2011 on the basis of low quality and lack of scientific value. He then modified it and submitted it to the Faculty of Organizational Sciences (FON) as the Value Creation through the Process of Restructuring and Privatisation – Theoretical Concepts and the Case of Serbia, where he obtained his PhD in 2013. On 9 July 2014 the website "Peščanik" claimed that Mali had plagiarized at least one third of his PhD thesis. Professor Raša Karapandža showed that Mali plagiarized his thesis with the content from other theses, authored articles, site of the Agency of Privatization of Serbia and Wikipedia by publishing several examples. The main plagiarised source was the doctorate of professor Stifanos Hailemariam, an economist from Eritrea, titled Corporate Value Creation, Governance and Privatisation: Restructuring and Managing Enterprises in Transition – The Case of Eritrea, defended at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, in 2001.
The FON founded the commission which in October 2014 concluded that Mali’s work is not a plagiarism. University rejected this decision on 10 December 2014. In November 2016 the FON formed new Ethics Commission. On 19 December 2016 it again concluded that there is no plagiarism. On 18 January 2017, citing procedural reasons, the University rejected theses findings, too. The FON failed to form the new commission until February 2019 which concluded that only 6.97% of the thesis was plagiarized, which the commission claimed is not enough to dispute its scientific contribution. On 15 July the University again returned the decision back to the FON for new deliberation, giving them 60 days to do so, stating that commission's findings were "incomplete, unclear and contradictory". The FON formed the same commission as in January, which on 23 October 2019 submitted the same report. On 21 November 2019, university's Professional Ethics Board overturned the faculty's decision and unanimously confirmed the non-academic behavior of Mali. On 12 December 2019, the Senate of the University unanimously annulled Mali's doctorate due to plagiarism.
Due to the scandal outbreak, Mali was never promoted to the rank of the doctor of philosophy. Still, on the electoral list for the 2018 Belgrade elections, he even named "doctor of philosophy" as his "occupation". The doctorate of Mali was one in the series of Serbian education-related scandals since 2014, regarding dubious diplomas, master degrees and doctorates of the politicians. It also coincided with the period of exponential growth of doctorates in Serbia, from 205 in 2007 to 2,012 in 2016. The case has been often compared, unfavorably though, to the Guttenberg plagiarism scandal of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, German Minister of Defense who resigned his post after the plagiarism was revealed. While in Guttenberg's case political epilogue came after 20 days and a legal one after 9 months, scandal with Mali's doctorate dragged on for 6 calendar years while he ultimately progressed in the political hierarchy.
During this period, question of Mali's doctorate crossed the lines of academia becoming a political affair and a much wider social issue in Serbia due to the inactivity of the state and educational institutions regarding this matter, which in turn provoked public protests, university's blockade by the students and a fierce public and political division. Students blocked the Rectorate of University of Belgrade for a day on 19 July 2019, asking for plagiarism to be declared. Since the issue wasn’t resolved, they again blocked it from 13 to 25 September 2019. Mali was vehemently defended by the entire governing and party establishment in what was described as the operation "defend and protect plagiarism" with the entire "machinery employed to defend the doctorate". On the other side, this triggered protests and public performances calling for the annulment of Mali's doctorate which ultimately blended into the wider civil and political Serbian protests since 2018. This was enhanced by the perception of his tenure as the mayor of Belgrade, which was described as the "deluge of affairs" while Mali himself was labeled the "walking affair", "controversial" and "scandal-ridden".
Mali is divorced and has two sons and a daughter. He speaks English fluently, uses Greek and is studying Chinese. Mali was awarded the "Best European 2014" award for the project of development and reconstruction of Belgrade. In 2017, the European Movement in B&H awarded him with the "Most Tolerant City in the Region" award. He is a keen sportsman, and a regular participant in semi-marathon races within the Belgrade Marathon. In November 2018 he ran the full Athens Marathon and in September next year Mali ran full marathon in Berlin. He was a member of the presidency of KK Crvena zvezda and he is the honorary holder of the black belt in taekwondo 5th dan for contribution to the development of sports. During his high school days, Mali played guitar in a heavy metal band. He was awarded the Order of the Great Martyrs of Kragujevac of the first degree. It was handed to him with the blessing of the Serbian Patriarch Irinej, in October 2019, by Bishop of the Diocese of Šumadija, Jovan.
- http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2017&mm=11&dd=18&nav_category=11&nav_id=1326844 Ničić već stigao do Predsedništva, izabrani i Mali i Vesić
- Sinisa Mali becomes Belgrade mayor, Tanjug News Agency, 24 April 2014, archived from the original on 1 May 2014
- Službeni list Grada Beograda, Year LVII, No. 52. 20 November 2013. ISSN 0350-4727.
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- Serbia, RTS, Radio televizija Srbije, Radio Television of. "Otvoren "Makiš 2"". www.rts.rs. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- "Мали и Никодијевић обишли три реконструисане саобраћајнице, завршене у рекордном року". Град Београд - Званична интернет презентација | Мали и Никодијевић обишли три реконструисане саобраћајнице, завршене у рекордном року (in Serbian). Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- "Otvorena pristupna saobraćajnica na stanici Prokop". www.ekapija.com. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
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- Tezu Siniše Malog odbio Ekonomski fakultet, pa ju je odbranio na FON-u
- Dragana Pećo (15 December 2019). "Lažni doktor u kandžama korupcije" [Fake doctor in claws of corruption] (in Serbian). KRIK.
- Velike tajne Malog majstora – Ili kako je Siniša Mali ukrao doktorat (in Serbian), Peščanik, 9 July 2014
- Radmilo Marković (16 May 2019). "Plagijat, od reči do reči" [Plagiarism, word by word]. Vreme, No. 1480 (in Serbian).
- CINS (7 May 2019). "CINS: Komisija FON-a utvrdila da je doktorat Siniše Malog samo malo prepisan" [CINS: FON's commission concluded that the Siniša Mali's PhD was copied just a little bit] (in Serbian). N1.
- Iz Nemačke s ljubavlju [From Germany with love] (in Serbian), Peščanik, 8 September 2014
- Допис са чињеницама у циљу утврђивања испуњености услова за одбрану докторске дисертације кандидата Синише Малог [Memo on facts regarding the fulfillment of the conditions for the defense of doctoral dissertation by the candidate Siniša Mali] (PDF) (in Serbian). Faculty of Organizational Sciences. 20 November 2014.
- Natalija Miletić (14 December 2014). "Mali od plagijata" [Mali of the Plagiarism] (in Serbian). Peščanik.
- Sandra Gucijan. "Siniša Mali nije plagirao doktorat" [Siniša Mali didn't plagiarize his doctorate]. Politika.
- Anđela Milivojević (30 December 2019). "Komisija FON-a: Softver nije osnov za osporavanje doktorata Siniše Malog" [The FON commission: Software is not the basis for disputing Siniša Mali's doctorate] (in Serbian). CINS.
- Beta (18 January 2017), "Senat Univerziteta traži komisiju o doktoratu Malog" [University's Senate is asking for the commission regarding Mali's doctorate [to be formed]], N1 (in Serbian)
- "Komisija FON-a: Doktorat Siniše Malog samo malo prepisan" [FON's commission: doctorate of Siniša Mali is copied just a little bit]. Cins.rs. CINS.
- Stefan Stanković (9 May 2019). "Rakić Vodinelić: Kakav je to doktor Siniša Mali od 93 procenta" [Rakić Vodinelić: What kind of the 93% doctor is Siniša Mali] (in Serbian). N1.
- Insajder, N1 (15 July 2019). "Odbor za etiku: Doktorat Siniše Malog vraćen FON-u na ponovno odlučivanje" [Ethics Board: Doctorate of Siniša Mali returned to the FON for new deliberation]. N1 (in Serbian).
- Ethics Commission (25 October 2019). Извештај Етичке комисије ФОН-а [The FON's Ethics Commission report] (PDF) (in Serbian). CINS.
- Grupa za nadzor visokog obrazovanja [@ZaNadzor] (27 October 2019). "Etička komisija FON-a utvrdila je da je doktorat plagijat i preporučila javnu opomenu" [FON's Ethics Commission established the doctorate is plagiarism and recommended public reprimand] (Tweet) (in Serbian) – via Twitter.
- Sandra Gucijan (28 October 2019). "FON danas o doktoratu Siniše Malog" [FON today on Siniša Mali's doctorate]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 7.
- N1 Beograd, FoNet (21 November 2019). "Odbor preinačio odluku FON-a i jednoglasno utvrdio neakademsko ponašanje Malog" [Board altered the decision of the FON and unanimously confirmed Mali's non-academic behavior] (in Serbian). N1.
- Stefan Veselinović (21 November 2019). "Rektorka: Siniši Malom će biti "poništen doktorat"" [Rector: Siniša Mali's[ doctorate will be declared void] (in Serbian). BBC na srpskom.
- Gordana Filipović, Lenka Ponikelska (21 November 2019). "Politicians Are Getting in Trouble Over Fake Qualifications". Bloomberg.
- The Associated Press (21 November 2019). "Serbian Minister Faces Calls to Resign After Plagiarism Row". New York Times (in Serbian).
- Miodrag Sovilj (12 December 2019). "Senat Univerziteta u Beogradu jednoglasno poništio doktorat Siniše Malog" [Senate of the Belgrade University unanimously annulled the doctorate of Siniša Mali] (in Serbian). N1.
- V. Andrić (28 February 2018). "Bumbaširević: Mali bez doktorske diplome do okončanja postupka" [Bumbaširević: Mali without doctoral diploma until the process is over] (in Serbian). Danas.
- Electoral list for the coalition Aleksandar Vučić – zato što volimo Beograd
- FoNet (5 December 2019). "Boško Obradović podneo zahtev da se ispita doktorat Jelene Trivan" [Boško Obradović filed a motion for examination of Jelena Trivan's doctorate] (in Serbian). N1.
- Jelena Petrović (8 December 2020). "Zukorlić kaže - plagijate osuditi, a u odluci o Malom vidi politički obračun" [Zukorlić says - condemn the plagiarism, but decision on Mali is a political showdown] (in Serbian). N1.
- Sandra Gucijan (6 February 2014). "Za osam godina smo dobili 9.000 doktora nauka" [We got 9,000 doctors of philosophy in 8 years]. Politika (in Serbian).
- Adam Santovac (12 October 2017). "U poslednjoj deceniji broj doktora nauka porastao za 880%" [In the last decade number of doctors of philosophy grew by 880%] (in Serbian). N1.
- Raša Karapandža (24 May 2019). "Novi dokazi o plagijaranom doktoratu Siniše Malog - Student generacije, kako to loskavo zvuči" [New evidence on plagiarized doctorate of Siniša Mali - Valedictorian, how flattery it sounds]. NIN (in Serbian).
- Adam Santovac (12 October 2019). "Plagijati u Srbiji nekažnjeni, Nemci oduzimaju titule odmah" [Plagiarisms in Serbia unsanctioned, Germans take away titles right away] (in Serbian). N1.
- Danica Popović (3 June 2018). "Žuti lopov postao ministar finansija" [Yellow thief became finance minister]. NIN (in Serbian).
- Miodrag Sovilj (13 September 2019). "Studenti iz "1 od 5 miliona" blokirali Rektorat u Beogradu" [Students from "1 of 5 million" blocked the Rectorate in Belgrade]. N1 (in Serbian).
- Beta (14 September 2019). "Studenti "1 od 5 miliona" noć proveli zaključani u zgradi Rektorata" [Students from "1 of 5 million" spent the night locked inside the Rectorate] (in Serbian). N1.
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- Tomislav Marković (29 September 2019). "Ko u Srbiji smije govoriti o plagijatima i masovnim grobnicama?" [Who in Serbia is allowed to talk about plagiarism and mass graves?] (in Serbian). Al Jazeera Balkans.
- Jelena Petrović (28 October 2019). "Radonjić: Odluka trebalo da bude - doktorat Malog validan ili ne, osuda je ništa" [Radonjić: the decision should have been - Mali's doctorate is valid or not, condemnation means nothing] (in Serbian). N1.
- FoNet (17 May 2019). "Studenti dele lažne diplome u Slobodnoj zoni" [Students issuing fake diplomas in Free Zone] (in Serbian). N1.
- Beta (13 June 2019). "Studenti će deliti pamuk iz Srbije i lažne diplome članovima etičke komisije BU" [Students will give away cotton from Serbia and fake diplomas to the members of the Belgrade University Ethical Commission] (in Serbian). Novi Magazin.
- Dejan Aleksić (29 April 2017). "Portret bez rama: Siniša Mali - Poplava afera" [Portrait without frame: Siniša Mali - deluge of affairs] (in Serbian). Politika. p. 7.
- Jelisaveta Ćirilović (9 March 2017). "Biljana Stepanović: Siniša Mali postao hodajuća afera" [Biljana Stepanović: Siniša Mali became a walking affair] (in Serbian). N1.
- The Associated Press (29 May 2018). "Controversial Belgrade Mayor Named Serbia's Finance Minister". The New York Times.
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- "Mali istrčao polumaraton: Osmesi iz Beograda otišli u svet". novosti.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 1 April 2019.
- "Mali i Đorđević trčali Atinski maraton: Promovišemo Srbiju". N1 Srbija (in Serbian). Retrieved 1 April 2019.
- "ISTRČAO MINISTARSKI: Siniša Mali posle Atine na maratonu i u Berlinu". Mondo Portal (in Serbian). Retrieved 30 September 2019.
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Ana Brnabić (Acting)
| Minister of Finance of Serbia
| Mayor of Belgrade
Andreja Mladenović (Acting)