Montenegro: Police Arrest Final Suspect in Abuse of Office Case

Published: 27 August 2015

Budva, Montenegro

By Igor Spaic

Montenegrin police have arrested a company chief suspected of being an accomplice in a case of abuse of office that saw a string of arrests of city officials earlier this month.

Dragoljub Milovanovic, head of the construction company Gugi Komerc, was the final suspect still at largeafter a wave of arrests on Aug. 13, when the mayor of the coastal city of Budva, Lazar Radjenovic, was detained along with 12 other officials and local businessmen.

Among those arrested were former mayor Rajko Kuljaca, deputy mayor Dragan Marovic, local official Milena Marovic Bogdanovic, prime minister's advisor Aleksander Ticic, and the former director of the firm Trade Junik CG, Goran Bojanic.

Prosecutors believe the suspects formed a organized crime group that embezzled more than € 10 million (US$ 11.1 million) of state funds in two separate cases.

Milovanovic was arrested Tuesday morning and denied wrongdoing when he was brought in for questioning, according to state television RTCG.

The case revolves around contracts that were signed between city officials and the firms Trade Junik CG and Gugi Komerc.

Authorities suspect that the officials overpaid Gugi Komerc by about € 2 million (US$ 2.2 million) for works on a stage that was to be used for music festivals on Jaz Beach in 2007.

In the other case, prosecutors allege that during a 2007 to 2008 joint project between Trade Junik CG and the Budva municipality - the construction of the TQ Plaza business center - municipality officials fraudulently struck a deal that cost the state € 8 million (US$ 8.9 million).

Investigators believe the officials and company director annexed the initial contract to swap 4,500 square meters of office space that the municipality had paid for with 4,500 square meters of much cheaper garage space in the same building complex, without the approval of the municipal assembly.