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news 10 Aug 17

Serbia and Montenegro Ex-President Risks Expropriation

Svetozar Marovic, the former president of Serbia and Montenegro, could lose millions of euros' worth of property if he does not pay a 1.1-million-euro fine after admitting involvement in corruption.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
Svetozar Marovic. Photo: dps.me.

Former Serbia and Montenegro president Svetozar Marovic has until mid-September to pay 1.1 million euros to Montenegro after making a plea bargain with the special prosecution and admitting that he abused his political position to benefit a criminal group involved in property in his hometown of Budva.

Marovic’s lawyer, Zdravko Begovic, told Montenegrin daily Pobjeda that if he does not pay the amount by the deadline, the court will have to seize some of the property in Budva that he pledged as security.

The value of Marovic's property, acquired over the last few years while he was employed by the state, has reportedly been estimated at several million euros, and includes luxury property in Budva and Boka Bay, plus companies and a yacht.

A former speaker of the Montenegrin parliament and the last president of the rump Yugoslav state, Marovic pleaded guilty to corruption charges in August 2016 and agreed to serve nearly four years in prison.

He was the 'number-two' figure in Montenegrin politics for years, behind the country's recently-retired veteran prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. Marovic was the first member of the country’s political elite to be sentenced to prison for corruption.

However he is currently at large, and wanted for arrest on red Interpol warrant issued by the Montenegrin authorities. 

According to his lawyers, Marovic has been in Belgrade since April 7 to undergo health treatment, although he was supposed to start serving his prison term in Montenegro in May.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said in June that the Serbian police will act "according to the law" in the case of Marovic, after checking the status of the Interpol red notice and establishing his location.

Montenegrin justice minister Zoran Pazin then said that the arrest of Marovic depends on the Serbian police and that Podgorica will file a request for his extradition after he is detained.

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