#HotelAvala #PanamaPapers #HotelBianca #Budva #Kolašin #London #MoneyLaundering #Dubious #ChiefSpecialProsecutor #MilivojeKatnić
Chief Special Prosecutor, Milivoje Katnić, ordered an inquest for suspicions that privatization of two Montenegrin hotels was done with money of dubious origin – through companies from Panama.
The inquest was opened before the outbreak of the world tax scandal “Panama Papers”, and privatizations in question are those of hotels Avala and Bianca. If it is proven that there has been money laundering, the scenario of Budva affairs could be repeated, meaning that the state would take over the management of the hotels.
“The case is at the stage of preliminary investigation. We are currently collecting information, data and documentation in order to assess the existence of the essential elements of any criminal offense for which prosecution will be initiated ex officio, and within the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor’s Office”, the response of the Office reads.
Dnevne Novine daily had access to documentation of cash flow, which, according to suspicions being currently investigated, was “laundered” through Swiss banks in multi-million amounts, before it was transferred to the account of Beppler & Jacobson Montenegro in one of local commercial banks.
The curiosity of the story is that, according to the companies register in the Republic of Panama, the owner of one of the affected companies, which carried out transfers of money for the purchase of the hotels, was Svetlana Lazurenko, wife of businessman Igor Lazurenko, who cound not prove before the Court of Arbitration in London the origin of the assets invested.
The task of the prosecution in this complex investigation is to prove which financial route did the money “ride” on its way to Montenegro. It is speculated that it was “derived” from the TNK British Petroleum oil company, in which Lazurenko was head of logistics, but from which he was, according to writing of leading economic media, chased off due to fraud.
According to the evidence collected by DN daily, most of the money Beppler & Jacobson Montenegro received from the privatization came from the account of its mother company, Beppler & Jacobson LTD, and a Panamanian company Luburia Invest, in the form of credit help.
Payments were made via Swiss accounts in two banks, UBS AG and Clariden Leu. Through UBS, Luburia paid 1.6 million euros to Beppler & Jacobson LTD on October 22, 2003. The same day, 1.56 million euros was transferred to the account of the Commercial Court in Podgorica, on the basis of a contract on the purchase of hotel Bianca in Kolasin. Through the same account and for the same purpose, but via another dubious company – Trokley (in order to cover up traces of the origin of the money) – Luburia Invest on January 20, 2004 pays 1.6 million euros to the account of the Hipotekarna Banka. Also to purchase a hotel. The same company, headquartered in Panama, on February 13 same year, paid 1.6 million euros, and in the meantime made several smaller transfers of tens of thousands of euros.
Source: Cafe Del Montenegro