Montenegro widens investigation at power monopoly EPCG

By bne IntelliNews April 20, 2016

Montenegro’s prosecution has reportedly initiated an investigation into three more managers of power monopoly EPCG over consultancy contracts signed with Italy’s A2A, which is one of the company’s main owners, daily Vijesti reported on April 19.

Earlier in April, broadcaster RTCG reported that an investigation had reportedly started into three former top managers of EPCG over the same contracts. The investigation concerns 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.

A2A had a contract with Montenegro’s government on the management of EPCG, which was signed back in 2009 after the Italian company acquired 43.7% of EPCG following a major privatisation deal. The Italian company paid €435mn. In the meantime, A2A has lost 2pp of its equity capital in EPCG, while the electricity price has been reduced, which resulted in A2A failing to meet pledged targets on issues such as investment.

RTCG has reported that the investigation is probing two former financial directors, Flavio Bianco and Massimo Sala, as well as a former executive director. Vijesti reported that on April 15, Bianco was arrested and put into detention for 30 days.

According to unofficial information from Vijesti, the investigation also is probing Slobodan Tanasijevic, who is the coordinator for EPCG’s chief financial director and the husband of an MP from the ruling DPS, as well as Venka Janjusevic, head of the finances and payments directorate, and Vojka Calasan, head of accounting and taxes directorate. All three were interrogated on April 15, Vijesti says.

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