MANS Reports Top Government and First Bank Officials for Organized Crime

A Montenegro anti-corruption group, MANS, filed charges of organized crime today against former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, his brother Aco and 14 others, and requested confiscation of their illegally obtained assets.

The others included current Prime Minister Igor Lukšić, the President of Board of Directors of First Bank Kazimir Pregl, the bank’s former Executive Director Predrag Drecun and former Board president Radoje Zugić who now serves as governor of the Central Bank of Montenegro. MANS also accused the country’s banking regulator and the complete management board of directors of Elektroprivreda, the electricity company.

Today’s complaint was the third this week that MANS filed with the special prosecutor for organized crime, corruption and war crimes. Prosecutors in Montenegro are required to investigate and made a finding about complaints lodged by citizens and organizations.

The charges follow reportage last month by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BBC Nightnews disclosing how First Bank, controlled by the Djukanovic family, repeatedly flouted banking laws and regulations and the Central Bank.

MANS said that Djukanovic, through the Democratic Party of Socialists which he leads, ensured the passage of laws and decisions exclusively in the interest of First Bank. The bank continued to receive money from the government despite breaking laws.

Aco Djukanovic through First Bank loaned money to himself and other connected parties, while Luksic passed and executed decisions that allowed the transfer of state money to First Bank.

The electricity company’s management was included in the charges because, MANS charged, it kept money in First Bank to bolster its capital reserves instead of investing it into the electrical system. Ultimately citizens have paid the price for that in the form of higher bills. MANS has recently organized a series of public protests in partnership with labor unions unhappy about high electricity bills.

MANS did not elaborate on the assets it regarded as subject to seizure.