Biography

Sinisa Mali Biography, Age, Early Life, Education, Career, Business, Politics, Mayor of Belgrade, Minister of Finance, PhD thesis controversy, Facts, Awards, Honors, Personal Life, Family, Wife, Children, Net Worth, Social Media, Instagram, TikTok

Sinisa Mali Biography

Siniša Mali (born August 25, 1972) is a Serbian economist and politician who has served as deputy prime minister of Serbia since 2022 and minister of finance since 2018.

He was a member of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and previously served as mayor of Belgrade from 2014 to 2018, as well as president of the Belgrade Temporary Council from 2013 to 2014.

Following Rade Basta’s departure in June 2023, he served as acting minister of economics.

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The revelation of plagiarism in Mali’s doctoral dissertation sparked anti-government rallies, culminating in a 12-day student blockade of the university’s main building and the decision by the University of Belgrade to cancel his doctorate.

Mali filed a lawsuit, claiming that his doctorate was unfairly withdrawn, and in March 2023, the Administrative Court issued a decision that overturned the University Senate’s decision to remove his doctorate.

Sinisa Mali Biography
Sinisa Mali Biography

Profile

First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia
Incumbent
Assumed office
26 October 2022
Prime Minister Ana Brnabić
Miloš Vučević
Preceded by Nebojša Stefanović
Minister of Finance
Incumbent
Assumed office
29 May 2018
Prime Minister Ana Brnabić
Miloš Vučević
Preceded by Dušan Vujović
Ana Brnabić (acting)
Minister of Economy
Acting
22 June 2023 – 6 September 2023
Prime Minister Ana Brnabić
Preceded by Rade Basta
Succeeded by Slobodan Cvetković
73rd Mayor of Belgrade
In office
24 April 2014 – 28 May 2018
Preceded by Dragan Đilas
Succeeded by Andreja Mladenović (acting)
Zoran Radojičić
Personal details
Born 25 August 1972 (age 51)
Belgrade, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
Political party SNS (2014–present)
Children 3
Alma mater University of Belgrade
Washington University in St. Louis
Technical University of Košice
Occupation Politician
Profession Economist
Sinisa Mali Biography
Sinisa Mali Biography

Early Life and Education

Siniša Mali was born on August 25, 1972, in Belgrade.

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He graduated from the 5th Belgrade Grammar School, both primary and secondary.

He finished his undergraduate studies in 1995 and obtained his master’s degree in 1998 from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Belgrade.

During his undergraduate studies, Mali got the prize as the student of the generation, and after finishing his studies, he received the award for the best undergraduate dissertation

In 2020, he began his doctoral studies in “Finance” at the Technical University of Košice in Slovakia.

In August 2022, he passed the dissertation exam, which approved the topic of his PhD thesis.

He earned his doctorate in June 2023.

He earned his master’s degree in finance (Master of Business Administration) from Washington University in St.

Louis, Missouri, USA, in 1999 as a Ron Brown scholar.

During her studies, Mali worked as an assistant for five business finance classes.

After studying, Mali got the title of the best student in the subject of finance, as well as the award of being among the top ten students of the top 20 business schools in the United States that year.

Sinisa Mali Biography
Sinisa Mali Biography

Business Career

Before his political career, Mali worked as a financial adviser in the private sector.

He worked for many private companies that provided financial advice.

Mali worked for Deloitte & Touche in Belgrade from 1995 to 1997, and then in its Prague branch from 1999 until 2001.

During his tenure in the United States, he worked for Credit Suisse First Boston’s Mergers & Acquisitions Group in New York City.

In 2001, he was appointed Assistant Minister of Privatization in the Ministry of Economy and Privatization.

During his tenure, Mali was in charge of the Republic of Serbia’s privatization process, as well as the formulation of various laws in this area.

At the end of that year, he joined the Privatisation Agency as director of the Centre for Tender Privatisation. He held that role till the end of 2003.

From 2005 to 2008, Mali was the chairman of the real estate firm “NCA Investment Group Doo Beograd.”

Mali has chaired some boards of directors, including Fiat Automobil Srbija and Komercijalna Banka, as well as the Supervisory Committee for Air Serbia.

He also served as chairman of the organizing committees for the 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four.

He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a member of the CFA Institute, Serbian Business Angels Network, Fulbright Alumni Association of Serbia, and the British-Serbian Business Club.

He is also a member of the Golf Club Belgrade and holds a golf green card.

He also holds a portfolio manager’s license issued by the Serbian Securities Commission.

The Serbian Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering (APML) investigated Mali’s private business in 2016.

Previously, in 2015, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Serbian investigative journalism site KRIK uncovered that Mali controlled 42 bank accounts registered to himself, his wife, and his three minor children.

These accounts had significantly more money than his official salary. In addition, OCCRP/KRIK identified and documented his acquisition of 24 apartments on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast in 2012 and 2013.

APML suspected Mali’s accounts and apartment purchases were part of a money-laundering plan and reported it to Belgrade’s Higher Public Prosecutors Office.

The prosecutors dismissed the complaint because they found no proof of illegal activity and so refused to initiate an investigation.

The Pandora Papers records were disclosed on October 3, 2021, and it was confirmed that Mali “definitely owned 24 apartments in Bulgaria”.

The Pandora Papers revealed the missing link: Mali was the owner of two offshore corporations that owned 24 apartments in Bulgaria.

Mali responded by alleging that “it is a lie”.

The minister also indicated that he does not own 24 apartments, but rather one that is officially registered and where he has vacationed with his family for the past ten years.

Despite Mali’s previous dismissal of these claims, the prosecution remained quiet.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabić said that the case did not represent corruption because it occurred before his political career.

However, Mali was a public officer at the time and did not declare the assets as required by law.

Political Career

In 2012, Mali became the economic counselor to First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić.

A year later, Mali was named Chief Negotiator with investors from the UAE.

He negotiated a strategic collaboration between the then-state-owned company JAT and Etihad Airways, which resulted in the foundation of Air Serbia.

Sinisa Mali Biography
Sinisa Mali Biography

Mayor of Belgrade

Mali was chosen as President of Belgrade’s Temporary Council after Mayor Dragan Đilas was ousted in November 2013.

Following the 2014 election in Belgrade, Mali was elected as Mayor on the recommendation of the winning Serbian Progressive Party.

Mali launched a thorough financial consolidation program to attain long-term budgetary stability from the day he took office in 2014.

During his stint as Mayor of Belgrade, Mali was able to cut the city’s debt in half, which stood at 1.2 billion euros in 2014, and reduce the budget deficit fourfold.

Mali conducted a debt consolidation of public utility businesses, which resulted in a net profit of 9.5 billion dinars throughout the first three years of his tenure.

He was able to galvanize a considerable number of investment projects, which helped to reduce unemployment.

The most noteworthy are the new hub project “Belgrade Waterfront” (worth 3.5 billion euros), the inauguration of the first IKEA store and Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand in Serbia, and the establishment of the Chinese automobile components manufacturing MEI TA Europe Ltd.

During Mali’s tenure, Moody’s Public Sector Europe (MPSE) improved the City of Belgrade’s long-term issuer rating to Ba3 from B1, and the rating’s outlook was changed to stable from positive.

During Mali’s tenure as Mayor of Belgrade, he completed numerous infrastructure projects, including the Pupin Bridge over the Danube, Košare’s Heroes Boulevard, water factory “Makiš 2,” and reconstruction of Slavija Square, Boulevard of Liberation, Roosevelt Street, and Mije Kovačević Street.

The railway station “Belgrade Center” (Prokop) reopened after 40 years.

Projects to expand the pedestrian zone in Belgrade and restore facades were undertaken.

Agreements were reached for the construction of a waste processing plant in Vinča, wastewater treatment plants in Veliko Selo, and the Obrenovac-Novi Beograd heating plant.

Sinisa Mali Biography
Sinisa Mali Biography

Minister of Finance

On May 29, 2018, he was appointed Minister of Finance in Ana Brnabić’s cabinet, following the departure of Dušan Vujović three weeks earlier.

Mali has stressed two primary priorities since assuming office as Minister of Finance: maintaining macroeconomic stability and achieving stronger economic growth.

In the first year of his tenure, a new set of laws was passed to contribute to a better economic climate, reducing the tax burden on labor, incentivizing entrepreneurs, increasing pensions and public sector pay, and modernizing the Tax Administration

On July 4, 2019, Mali was appointed as the president of the Coordination Body for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, succeeding Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Nebojša Stefanović.

Concurrently, he was named Governor of the Republic of Serbia by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Mali served as a member of the Presidency of the Serbian Progressive Party until November 2021, when he was elected as one of the party’s vice presidents.

PhD thesis controversy

Mali presented his thesis to the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade in 2002.

The paper, titled Privatization via the Method of Enterprises Selling – Theoretical Concepts and the Case of Serbia, was rejected in 2011 due to its low quality and scientific significance.

He subsequently changed it and submitted it to the Faculty of Organizational Sciences (FON) as Value Creation through the Process of Restructuring and Privatization – Theoretical Concepts and the Case of Serbia, from which he received his PhD in 2013.

On July 9, 2014, the website “Peščanik” reported that Mali plagiarized at least one-third of his PhD thesis.

Professor Raša Karapandža demonstrated that Mali plagiarized his thesis with text from other theses, published articles, the Agency of Privatization of Serbia website, and Wikipedia by publishing instances.

The main plagiarized source was the doctorate of professor Stifanos Hailemariam, an economist from Eritrea, titled Corporate Value Creation, Governance, and Privatization: Restructuring and Managing Enterprises in Transition – The Case of Eritrea, defended at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands in 2001.

The FON formed the commission, which concluded in October 2014 that Mali’s work was not plagiarized.

On December 10, 2014, the university rejected this judgment.

In November 2016, the FON constituted a new Ethics Commission. On December 19, 2016, it was again determined that there was no plagiarism.

On January 18, 2017, the university also rejected these conclusions, citing procedural concerns.

The FON neglected to assemble the new panel until February 2019, when it decided that just 6.97% of the thesis was copied, which the commission claimed was insufficient to challenge its scientific contribution.

On July 15, the university returned the verdict to the FON for further consideration, giving them 60 days to do so, claiming that the commission’s findings were “incomplete, unclear, and contradictory”.

The FON constituted the same commission as in January, and on October 23, 2019, they submitted the same report.

On November 21, 2019, the university’s Professional Ethics Board reversed the faculty decision and overwhelmingly validated Mali’s non-academic behavior.

On December 12, 2019, the Senate of the institution overwhelmingly invalidated Mali’s doctorate owing to plagiarism.

In June 2021, the Administrative Court in Belgrade ruled that the Committee for Professional Ethics of the University of Belgrade’s decision to revoke Minister of Finance Siniša Mali’s PhD was invalid.

The case has been returned to the relevant authority for reconsideration. The explanation for such a ruling, among other things, is that the Board’s decision to challenge the doctorate was not in compliance with the university’s acts.

The verdict only addresses technical and administrative issues, without judging the plagiarism itself.

The Professional Ethics Committee of the University of Belgrade admitted that the method for Minister Siniša Mali’s PhD was unconstitutional.

The President of the Board of the University of Belgrade, Vuk Radović, dismissed the rector’s appeal against the decision of the Scientific-Teaching Council of the Faculty of Organizational Sciences as invalid.

Due to the affair, Mali was never advanced to the rank of doctor of philosophy.

Still, on the electoral list for the 2018 Belgrade elections, he included “doctor of philosophy” as his “occupation”.

Mali’s doctorate was one of several Serbian education-related scandals that have occurred since 2014 [sr], involving bogus diplomas, master’s degrees, and doctorates held by politicians.

It also coincided with the period of exponential increase in Serbian doctorates, from 205 in 2007 to 2,012 in 2016.

The case has often been compared, unfavorably, to the Guttenberg plagiarism incident involving Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the German Minister of Defense who resigned after the plagiarism was discovered.

While in Guttenberg’s case political epilogue came after 20 days and a legal one after 9 months, the scandal with Mali’s doctorate stretched on for 6 calendar years while he eventually advanced in the political ladder.

During this time, the question of Mali’s doctorate crossed over from academia to become a political and much broader social issue in Serbia due to the state’s and educational institutions’ inaction on the matter, which sparked public protests, a student blockade of the university, and a fierce public and political division.

Students blocked the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade for a day on July 19, 2019, demanding that plagiarism be declared.

Since the issue was not rectified, they stopped it again from September 13 until September 25, 2019.

Mali was vigorously defended by the entire ruling and party apparatus in what was dubbed as the operation “defend and protect plagiarism”, with the full “machinery employed to defend the doctorate”.

On the other hand, this sparked protests and public performances calling for the revocation of Mali’s PhD, which eventually merged into the larger civil and political Serbian protests in 2018.

This was exacerbated by the perception of his stint as mayor of Belgrade, which was described as the “deluge of affairs”, while Mali himself was branded the “walking affair,” “controversial,” and “scandal-ridden.”

In December 2021, the Senate of the University of Belgrade officially canceled his doctorate.

In June 2022, the Constitutional Court of Serbia decided that certain provisions of the Rulebook on the procedure for determining non-academic behavior in the preparation of written works, which govern the procedures for revocation of the academic title due to the pronounced measure of public condemnation for violations of the Code of Professional Ethics of the University of Belgrade, and certain provisions of the Statute of the University of Belgrade – are not in

Siniša Mali’s diploma, granting the title of Doctor of Science, was annulled due to unconstitutional regulations that violate the rule of law and the prohibition on retroactivity.

Siniša Mali’s PhD should be reinstated as the regulations that took it away from him violate the law.

Based on the court’s judgment, Mali filed a lawsuit with the institution on August 22, 2022, requesting that the decision to nullify his degree be reversed.

On January 25, 2023, the University Senate unanimously rejected his appeal as unjustified and upheld the Board for Professional Ethics’ verdict.

At the Senate session, rector Vladan Đokić read the board’s explanation for the rejection, stating that “acts like plagiarism, which has been proven in this case, cannot become morally acceptable behavior with time”.

In March 2023, the Administrative Court announced a finding that reversed the decision of the University Senate to revoke his doctorate.

Mali is divorced, with two sons and a daughter.

He speaks English fluently, understands Greek, and is learning Chinese.

Mali received the “Best European 2014” award for the development and reconstruction of Belgrade. In 2017, the European Movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina gave him the “Most Tolerant City in the Region” honor.

Siniša Mali has been named the Reformer of the Year for 2022.

The Minister received NALED’s special award for implementing eFiscalization and eInvoices, systemic reforms that will improve the openness of financial transactions, and tax collection, and contribute to the suppression of Serbia’s shadow economy.

He is an avid sportsman who regularly competes in marathon competitions.

In November 2018, he completed the entire Athens Marathon, and Mali completed the full marathon in Berlin the following September.

He also raced complete marathons in Boston, New York, Chicago, London, and Tokyo. Sinisa Mali received the Six Star Medal after finishing the Tokyo Marathon in March 2023.

He served as the president of KK Crvena Zvezda and has an honorary black belt in taekwondo (5th dan) for his contributions to sports development.

During his high school years, Mali played guitar in a heavy metal band.

He received the Order of the Great Martyrs of Kragujevac in the first degree.

In October 2019, Bishop Jovan of the Diocese of Šumadija bestowed the blessing of Serbian Patriarch Irinej on the recipient.

Sinisa Mali Biography
Sinisa Mali Biography

Facts

He is actively involved in a variety of sports. He holds an honorary 5th-day Taekwondo black belt in recognition of his contributions to sports development. He regularly participates in marathon races, including those in Athens, Berlin, Budapest, London, Chicago, and New York.

He received the prestigious “Six Star Medal Award” after finishing the Tokyo Marathon in March 2023. In September 2023, he successfully finished the “Ironman Triathlon” in Italy.

He speaks English fluently, knows some Greek, and is learning Chinese.

He is the father to Teodor, Viktor, Lola, and Aleksej.

Sinisa Mali Biography
Sinisa Mali Biography

Instagram

TikTok

@mali.sinisa

#Padel je mnogo lakši od tenisa, a podjednako zabavan. 🏓Isprobali smo novi teren za padel u Beogradu, koji je potpuno besplatan. Dodjite u Čuburski park na Vračaru! 😄 #padelvideos #padeltime #padeltennis #sinisamali #beograd

♬ original sound – Siniša Mali

 

 

 

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