Montenegro’s special prosecution has launched a new investigation against Svetozar Marovic, the former president of Serbia and Montenegro, on suspicion of giving a CHF450,000 (€413,000) bribe to ensure that evidence against him was hidden by HSBC bank, broadcaster RTCG reported on August 8, quoting unofficial information from daily Dnevne Novine. The evidence would reportedly have proved Marovic’s participation in the Budva affair,
Marovic recently admitted he headed an organization that was involved in the Budva affair. In return, he agreed to spend 4.4 years in jail. He is the first former politician at this level to be sentenced.
However, the case against him is not completed yet as the latest session of Montenegro’s high court was postponed because Marovic did not show up on August 1. His lawyer then claimed that Marovic was ill. The court’s session has been delayed until September.
According to Dnevne Novine's sources, a key witness of the prosecution - Veselin Mujovic - admitted that he participated in the bribery and said that the bribe was given at a meeting with HSBC representatives in Italy.
In May, Svetozar Marovic, his brother Dragan and son Milos pleaded guilty in the Budva affair. Dragan will spend 17 months in prison and Milos one year. The Budva affair concerns the construction and management of the Plaza shopping mall in Budva, a joint project between the municipality and a private company, Trade Unique. Svetozar Marovic and several others are suspected of colluding to benefit Trade Unique.
In August, the former mayor of Budva Lazar Radjenovic also was sentenced to 19 months for his participation in the Budva affair.
The special prosecution is investigating 87 people suspected to have participated in the Budva affair, while more than 20 were arrested last year. Among those arrested is also Svetozar Marovic's aunt Mirjan, while his daughter Milena Marovic-Bogdanovic and his son’s mother-in-law, Dragica Popovic, are under investigation.
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