Montenegro: Reporters Call on Tax Authority to Investigate Former President

Montenegro's leading anti-corruption group, MANS, has demanded that tax authorities investigate the finances of the former president of Serbia and Montenegro and his wife.

Svetozar MarovicAccording to leaked documents obtained by OCCRP, the wife of former president Svetozar Marovic stashed US$3.8 million in an account held with Swiss Bank HSBC in 2006 – 2007. Although Marovic had access to the account, he did not declare the asset.

Svetozar Marovic's 2006 assets declaration lists his wife as unemployed, and shows that he earned about US$2250 a month serving as a parliamentarian and chairman of the board of a public company. According to the business registry, the Marovic's did not own any private businesses in Montenegro before that year.

At this rate, it should have taken about 140 years for the family to accumulate the US$3.8 million stashed in the account. MANS has called for an investigation into the origin of this money by the chief prosecutor.

Apart from the unknown origin of the money, MANS has also pointed out a potential tax evasion element to the case. According to their calculations, a profit of US$3.8 million would normally attract taxes of US$ 300,000. Failing to pay is a criminal offence punishable by up to eight years in prison.

Montenegro's tax authority said last week it would open an investigation into the finances of those residing in Montenegro who have been linked to the HSBC leak.

Marovic has denied wrongdoing.