NICOSIA, Cyprus -- On Dec. 27, 1998, a Yugoslav named Drakomir Stojkovic flew from Belgrade to Cyprus's Larnaca airport on a private jet carrying bags stuffed with 35 million deutsche marks -- worth roughly $17 million.

One might assume that such an eye-popping figure would catch the attention of border guards in this eastern Mediterranean island, which is scheduled to enter the European Union in 2004. But customs officers waved Stojkovic through. He was met by representatives of Cyprus Popular Bank, who deposited the money in the account of a company called Browncourt Enterprises Ltd.

This wasn't the only time Stojkovic warmed the hearts of his bankers with a hefty haul of cash. From March 1998 to March 1999, he brought $223.6 million deutsche marks into the country, according to a report released this month by the U.N. International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. His efforts are said to have represented only a fraction of a multimillion-dollar scheme instigated by former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. to evade international sanctions. The aim was to funnel money abroad to purchase military equipment through front companies set up in Cyprus and Greece.