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Arrests are piling up in Montenegro, after a police chief now the „crypto king” has also been caught


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Rendőrség / Police

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Police officers in Montenegro are allegedly involved in cocaine smuggling, with several of them already taken into custody. On Wednesday evening (March 22), Dejan Knežević, the deputy director responsible for fighting organized crime at the Montenegrin Police Directorate, was arrested. Knežević is reportedly linked to members of a recently apprehended criminal gang, who have been charged by the Special State Prosecutor’s Office (SDT) with creating a criminal organization and drug trafficking. Meanwhile, the Montenegrin Minister of the Interior announced that a person believed to be one of the world’s most well-known and wanted fugitives has been arrested.

Did one of the top police chiefs commit a crime?

The Montenegrin special police, acting on the instructions of the Special State Prosecutor’s Office, arrested the deputy director responsible for fighting organized crime at the Montenegrin Police Directorate on Wednesday evening.

The Montenegrin authorities, in collaboration with Europol, carried out the arrest as part of a planned and coordinated operation that lasted several months.

This is not the first time that local police authorities in the Balkans have only acted following encouragement from Europe.


Moreover, Knežević is not suspected of merely knowing someone who knows someone among the criminals, but specifically of having created a criminal organization and committed other criminal offenses himself.

The deputy director responsible for fighting organized crime at the Montenegrin Police Directorate has been placed in 72-hour pre-trial detention after being questioned by prosecutors on Thursday.

His lawyer has stated that the police leader did not admit to committing any crimes and believes that all the evidence presented by the prosecution is unfounded.

Knežević has held important positions in the Montenegrin police for a long time, previously leading the anti-drug trafficking department before becoming the deputy director responsible for fighting organized crime in early March 2021.

Police officers caught smuggling cocaine

Knežević is not the first official to be apprehended recently. Goran Stojanović, who is believed to have been a member of the Kavač clan as well as a police officer, was arrested a few days ago. Two other police officers, one of whom is suspected to have been the bodyguard of Balkan drug lord Darko Šarić’s brother, have also been put behind bars.

In Montenegro, a total of five individuals are currently in custody, while 17 others are suspected of being involved in the smuggling of three tons of cocaine. The majority of those involved were either police officers or are currently employed by the police force.

In connection with the case, Acting Prime Minister Dritan Abazović stated that the cocaine, mostly smuggled by police officers, is worth over 100 million euros. 

– Additionally, expensive assets such as cars have been seized from the suspects, with a total value estimated at 400-500 thousand euros.  If there were laws against organized crime, these assets would belong to the state, but as things stand, the government will have to spend money on their protection

– said Abazović who believes that the action taken by the special prosecutor’s office will have a seismic impact on the Kavač and Škaljar clans, as well as individuals associated with them.

– No mafia or criminal organization will be able to control Montenegro’s state institutions as they used to

said the Acting Prime Minister, alluding to the current President, Milo .

In addition to police officers and former government officials, there are also „businessmen” among the suspects who are allegedly involved in laundering the money through their companies. The investigation is ongoing.

„Đukanović and the Kavač Clan”

Prior to last Sunday’s presidential election, Executive Prime Minister Abazović spoke out about Montenegrin President Milo Ðukanović’s priorities, stating that the current president values preserving the Kavač clan more than winning the election.

-Đukanović values the preservation of the Kavač clan more than winning the presidential election

said Abazović, adding that the current president is already too late in doing so.

– If this government is not in power, no one can destroy the evidence, because, thank God, the Europol is already dealing with it

– Abazović said, suggesting that his government has already handed over the relevant evidence to the European law enforcement agency.

The police kidnapped people

Meanwhile, the Europol has released new shocking information that Montenegrin police officers have abducted, beaten, and tortured people, then boasted about it to known criminals.

According to the European law enforcement agency, at least 14 members (names withheld by the editorial team) of the former special operations and support unit under the command of Mirko Banović carried out torture, participated in such crimes, or knew about their commission.

According to intercepted communication on encrypted phones, the police officers kept the abducted people in secret apartments, where they were subjected to inhumane treatment, beaten, tortured, had guns placed in their mouths, received electric shocks, were strangled, and humiliated.


Rendőri fojtogatás, ahogy azt a Sky applikáció megőrizte (Forrás: LibertasPress)

According to Montenegrin news portal Libertas, two police officers, Petar Lazović and Jugoslav Jugo Raičević, debated this issue with leaders and members of criminal groups, and often sent them photos of the tortured people.

The leaked information suggests that the police officers informed criminal group leaders such as Radoje Zvicer, Darko Šarić, and Nikola Spasojević about these „heroic acts,” but they also had contact with Šarić’s group members, as well as Serbian criminals Veljko Belivuk and Marko Miljković.

Libertas reports that the Montenegrin police officers in question had daily contact with various criminal circles while also dealing with cigarette and drug smuggling.

The Montenegrin Police Directorate declined to respond to journalists’ questions regarding whether any proceedings had been initiated against any of the individuals listed by Europol, and if so, when and with whom.

World-shaking Arrest

In a Twitter announcement on Thursday afternoon, Filip Adžić, the Minister of Interior of Montenegro and member of the Prime Minister’s Movement, revealed that the Montenegrin police have arrested one of the most wanted fugitives in the world.

This was the icing on the cake, as Adžić himself belongs to the ruling party. Adžić identified the suspect as Do Kwon, a South Korean citizen and co-founder and CEO of the Singapore-based company Terraform Labs.

He stated that Kwon was responsible for over $40 billion in losses and that he had been detained at the Podgorica airport.

– The former crypto king who caused losses of more than $40 billion has been deprived of his freedom at the Podgorica airport

Adžić wrote on Twitter. He added that Kwon Do or Do Kwon was wanted by South Korea, the United States, and Singapore.

The Montenegrin Minister of Interior stated that they are waiting for official confirmation of the suspect’s identity.

The Montenegrin Ministry of Interior later announced that they had detained two South Korean citizens, Kwon Do- Hyung and Hon Chang Joon, at the Podgorica airport for using forged Costa Rican passports to board a flight to Dubai.

– The Interpol helped us determine this. During the baggage inspection, travel documents from Belgium and South Korea were also found. Interpol checks revealed that the Belgian documents were also fake

the Montenegrin Ministry of Interior stated in its announcement. The Ministry also revealed that there is no record of the two South Koreans entering Montenegro, which suggests that they may have illegally crossed the border, for example from Serbia.

Last year, there were suspicions that Do Kwon had been hiding in Serbia for some time, but these claims were never substantiated. It is likely that they were using false identities there, as well.


Dodik travels to Moscow, yet receives money from the European Union

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Dodik pénzt kap az EU-tól / Dodik travels to Moscow and receives money from the EU

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The European Commission has lifted the suspension it imposed last year on the disbursement of EU funds intended for the Bosnian Serb Republic. Milorad Dodik, the president of the Bosnian Serb entity, expressed his gratitude to his coalition partners for their support in this matter, while the entity he leads is experiencing worsening economic conditions. The upcoming repayment of bonds issued on the Vienna Exchange this year may force Dodik to take on additional significant loans. It is possible that he will seek assistance in Hungary as well.

In Brussels, they loosened their grip

Milorad Dodik, the president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, achieved a significant result on Friday, as the EU revoked the suspension of EU-funded development projects in the Serbian entity.

The disbursement of EU funds intended for the Bosnian Serb Republic had been suspended since February last year, as the EU Commission sought to exert pressure on Dodik’s Independent Social Democrats Alliance (Savez Nezavisnih Socijaldemokrata, SNSD) due to their secessionist tendencies.

Although the European Union did not impose sanctions on Bosnian Serb political leaders at that time, the Commission ordered the freezing of all projects receiving EU support.

It was already known at the time of the halt in investments, mostly related to infrastructure development, that the Serbian entity, burdened by significant debt due to bonds issued on international stock exchanges, would not be able to compensate for the resulting shortfall from its own budget.

In May of this year, several Bosnian newspapers reported that the leadership of the Bosnian Serb Republic could be in trouble if they do not find new external funding to finance their accumulated external debt.

While the risk of technical bankruptcy is not discussed in Banja Luka, it can be assumed that the EU, in plain terms, „didn’t let Dodik off the hook” and resumed the disbursement of previously frozen financial assets.

According to experts knowledgeable in the Bosnian financial sector, the EU’s restart of programs has provided a lifeline to the otherwise grim state of the Bosnian Serb economy.

However, experts agreed that the influx of EU funds alone will not be sufficient to ensure the necessary growth for financing external debt. This is because its impact does not generate enough additional GDP growth in the Bosnian Serb Republic to break free from the debt spiral.

One may ask, why did Brussels yield?

The answer, according to many, is that this step was a significant gesture towards the Bosnian Serb region on the brink of international isolation and economic collapse.

Dodik, in turn, has only earned this by fulfilling the coalition agreement he made with the Croatian Democratic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica Bosne i Hercegovine, HDZ BiH) and the left-wing Bosnian party alliance known as the „troika” until now.

Troubles within the coalition arise

The importance of restarting EU programs is also reflected in Dodik himself expressing gratitude, in front of the press, to Elmedin Konaković, the Bosnian Minister of Foreign Affairs, for consistently keeping the issue of restarting frozen projects in the Serbian entity on the agenda during his visits to Brussels this year.

elmedin konakovic milorad dodik 1

On the right, Elmedin Konaković, the Bosnian Minister of Foreign Affairs, plays the role of a helpful lobbyist, while on the left, Milorad Dodik, the president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, needs to be connected to a financial infusion

Simultaneously with the announcement of the financial good news, Denis Bečirović, the Bosnian member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, also held negotiations with members of the Western Balkans Working Group of the European Parliament in Brussels.

Bečirović’s participation in the meeting caused significant disruption within the communication machinery of the Bosnian government coalition. This was because the member of the presidency asked the present EU representatives to impose further sanctions against Dodik, and he described the continuation of the disbursement of EU financial assets as a „terribly bad step.”

Regarding Bečirović’s stance against Dodik, it is worth noting that in previous years, he has repeatedly accused the top Bosnian Serb leader of separatist tendencies and violating the principles of the Dayton Agreement.

His recent actions were particularly uncomfortable for his own party, the Social Democratic Party (Socijaldemokratska Stranka, SDP), as this position completely contradicted the coalition government’s stance, including that of his own party, regarding EU funds.

Although there haven’t been similar levels of communication discord among some players within the five-party government coalition in the past, and the government seemingly continued its work uninterrupted, strong figures within the coalition parties often make comments that indicate underlying tension.

When it comes to separate communication, the SDP takes the lead, as several prominent members sharply criticize the work of the coalition partners organized on the basis of two ethnicities, the Bosnian Serb SNSD and the Croatian HDZ BiH.

The ‘unique word scattering’ observed in the communication of the SDP can be traced back to the fact that the Yugoslav state party’s successor organization in Bosnia, in addition to its traditional center-left orientation, has sought to broaden its support among progressive and neo-Marxist youth groups. These groups find it difficult to accept that the SDP, which represents a multiethnic and atheist approach they support, formed an alliance with the Bosnian Serb and Croatian conservative political forces that were continuously criticized in the previous cycle.

Dodik needs to pay (or should pay)

Regardless of the opening of EU funds, the economic situation of the Bosnian Serb Republic is difficult to assess positively.

The maturity dates of entity bonds issued on the London and Vienna stock exchanges are approaching, and their repayment will pose a significant burden on the budget of the Serb entity.

The numbers speak for themselves.

This year, the Serb entity has a bond-based debt obligation of approximately 1,099 million BAM (convertible mark), which amounts to 208 billion Hungarian forints. In addition, the government of the Bosnian Serb Republic has to pay an additional 900 million BAM (170 billion Hungarian forints) this year based on other commitments.

A significant portion of these obligations is related to certain infrastructure investments. From this year’s upcoming debt pile, a portion of the Bosnian Serb bonds issued on the Vienna Stock Exchange in previous years will mature in June. After this, the Serb entity will have to pay approximately 400 million BAM (75 billion Hungarian forints).

To ensure the financing of the mentioned debt, the Bosnian Serb Republic received a loan of 180 million BAM (34 billion Hungarian forints) from Hungary.

We have previously reported in detail about this transaction and the support program provided by the Hungarian government to Bosnian Serb agricultural entrepreneurs.

According to news reports in the Bosnian press, in order to continue rolling over the high external debt, Dodik may be preparing, or rather, be forced to take on another loan of approximately 2 billion BAM (380 billion Hungarian forints) in the near future.

Most analysts link this future transaction, which has so far been only speculation, to the Chinese development funds that are still leading in the Western Balkans region, due to the drying up of Russian resources. However, it is also possible that Dodik may once again knock on Budapest’s door for a little injection of funds.

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