Serbian ex-FM probed for Israeli satellite rental

Serbia-Montenegro's former defense minister is under investigation for a "damaging" deal to rent an Israeli spy satellite, the military said Tuesday. Prvoslav Davinic, who resigned last September amid a separate scandal involving the purchase of military gear, signed the deal with ImageSat International in June. The deal was worth $52 million. The Cyprus-based company was offering imagery gathered by the Israeli-built Eros satellite under a time-sharing scheme that enables partners to "own" the satellite when it passes over their region. Serbian government officials have accused Davinic of making the "damaging" deal without consultations with government and military officials and of perhaps receiving kickbacks in the process. Davinic has admitted signing the deal, but said it was made in consultations with the authorities. The scandal was revealed earlier this month during a visit to Israel by Serbian President Boris Tadic when Israeli and ImageSat officials demanded the payment of $5.3 million as the first installment for the rental of the spy satellite.