Serbian minister faces calls to resign after plagiarism row

International

FILE – In this Sunday, April 2, 2017 file photo, Sinisa Mali attends a press conference after presidential election in Belgrade, Serbia. Serbia’s finance minister faced calls to resign Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 after a university said he plagiarized parts of his Ph.D. thesis. Belgrade University, one of Serbia’s most prestigious places of learning, said in a statement that Sinisa Mali “literally took over texts, or entire paragraphs, from the texts of other authors without listing the names of the authors.” (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, file)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia’s finance minister faced calls to resign Thursday after a university said he plagiarized parts of his Ph.D. thesis.

Belgrade University, arguably Serbia’s most prestigious place of learning, said in a statement that Sinisa Mali “literally took over texts, or entire paragraphs, from the texts of other authors without listing the names of the authors.”

The university dean Ivanka Popovic told the state broadcaster RTS that his 2013 paper, which focuses on restructuring and privatization, will be annulled. Mali earned his Ph.D. at Belgrade’s Faculty of Organizational Sciences.

Mali has denied the accusation.

“I know I didn’t do it,” he said Thursday.

“Right now, I am interested in Serbia’s budget (for 2020) and to do the job Serbian citizens pay me for,” he told the Tanjug news agency.

The accusation has prompted calls for his resignation of Mali, who is a close ally of President Aleksandar Vucic and previously served as the mayor of the capital Belgrade.

An anti-government movement has called a protest rally for Monday.

There was no immediate reaction from the Serbian government.

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