The high court of Podgorica said it has decided to unfreeze the shares of Italy’s A2A in Montenegro’s power firm EPCG after blocking them in July upon the request of the special prosecution, which is probing managers of the company.
The freezing of A2A’s shares coincided with the company’s decision to send a put option notice to Montenegro’s government, exercising the right to sell its 41.7% stake in power company EPCG for €250mn.
A2A confirmed in a statement that the seizure had been "completely cancelled by the court".
Last year, the special prosecution launched an investigation into several managers of EPCG, in connection to consultancy contracts signed by EPCG with A2A. According to information provided by Srdjan Kovacevic, the current head of EPCG’s board of directors, the contracts have led to excessive costs for the power monopoly and were signed in violation of its procedures and of Montenegro’s laws. The contracts were worth more than €11mn.
Among those investigated are EPCG’s former financial directors, Flavio Bianco and Massimo Sala, as well as a former executive director – all of them representatives of A2A in the power firm’s management board.
At the end of June, the special prosecution revealed it was also investigating Goran Rodic, a local lawyer who it said was suspected of organising a criminal group along with top managers of A2A with the aim of instigating bribery. It added no details.
The investigation was launched following a case initiated by Montenegro’s Network for Affirmation of the NGO Sector (MANS) over EPCG’s plans to buy stakes held by A2A and Aco Djukanovic, brother of former prime minister Milo Djukanovic, in the Rudnik Uglja coal mine. The NGO has accused A2A of bribing EPCG managers to present and defend a proposal for the sale of A2A’s stake in the coal mine to EPCG.
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