Serbia's top tycoon has gone on trial on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion, a high-profile case the government has hailed as an important step in efforts to curb corruption in the Balkan nation.

Miroslav Miskovic, his son Marko and nine others are facing up to ten years in prison each if convicted in the proceedings that started Thursday before Serbia's anti-corruption court.

Miskovic, one of the richest people in impoverished Serbia, is the owner of Delta Holding. The company has retail, real estate, insurance and agriculture businesses in Serbia and the rest of the Balkans.

Prosecutors allege that Miskovic and the others siphoned off millions of dollars from a road construction company and evaded paying taxes.