Bosnian businessman buys Montenegrin Prva Banka

By bne IntelliNews November 10, 2023

Dalibor Matic, a businessman from Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska, is buying a controlling stake in Montenegrin Prva Banka, of which the main shareholder is Aco Djukanovic, brother of former president and prime minister Milo Djukanovic, public broadcaster RTCG reported on November 9.

The news comes several months after local media reported that Serbia's state-owned Banka Postanska Stedionica was holding talks to acquire a majority stake in Montenegro’s Prva Banka Crne Gore.

Matic’s company EH Investment has submitted request to buy a stake in Prva Banka to the Montenegro’s central bank at the end of October.

Matic owns an offshore company registered in Switzerland, which owns several companies in Republika Srpska and Serbia.

Prva Banka has been at the centre of controversy in the past, when anti-corruption NGOs dubbed the bank the “personal ATM” of Djukanovic’s family and close allies. In July 2021, the government withdrew deposits worth €13.1mn from the bank.

In 2016, MEPs called for pressure to be put on the Montenegrin authorities to start an investigation into Prva Banka over allegations the bank had been involved in money laundering.

The call followed a 2012 report from the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on the bank that showed the concerns raised by the Montenegrin central bank about Prva Banka’s lending practices ahead of the global financial crisis and its bailout by the government and a €100mn deposit from Italian company A2A after its investment into EPCG.

In November 2021, BIRN published wiretapped conversations of Albanian businessman Rezart Taci, who is accused in Albania of involvement in an international money laundering scheme, in which Taci said he had involved Djukanovic in money transfers to Prva Banka. Prva Banka has denied the allegations.

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