The head of Montenegro’s Higher Court, Boris Savic, said on Tuesday that unknown persons dug a tunnel into the court’s storage rooms in the centre of the capital Podgorica, where trial evidence is stored.
“In a well-hidden place, a tunnel opening was found, which had been built for a long period of time. The investigation is over, we don’t know what could have happened if that opening hadn’t been noticed,” said Savic told a press conference.
Police have launched an investigation into possible evidence theft, although Savic said no evidence was missing.
“The person digging the tunnel did not want to steal the evidence that was already the subject of expert examination, but an attempt was made to get close to the detention room and an escape might have been attempted,” he said.
Media reported that police are checking surveillance cameras that monitor the storage area and questioning court personnel who had access to the basement rooms.
In the court storage facility, there was material evidence seized by the police during investigations – reportedly including large amounts of drugs, but also weapons and documents.
According to Montenegrin criminal law, seized evidence is kept by the court until verdicts become final and then should be destroyed.
Savic denied reports that the laptop of the fugitive founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency Terra, Do Kwon, who has in prison in Montenegro since March, was stolen in the burglary.
“Do Kwon’s laptop isn’t missing because it wasn’t even in the Higher Court storage,” he said.
Montenegro’s outgoing Justice Minister Marko Kovac called on the authorities to investigate the case promptly.
“It is an unwelcome sign that this burglary took place in a facility where there is video surveillance, as well as physical security, so we hope that this unfortunate incident will be resolved very quickly and that it will not affect the implementation of proceedings that have already started at the Higher Court in Podgorica,” Kovac told media.
Since February, the Higher Court has begun trials of several high-ranking state officials including the former head of Supreme Court, Vesna Medenica, and the head of the Commercial Court, Blazo Jovanic.
Former high-ranking police officer Petar Lazovic and the alleged head of Kavac drug gang Slobodan Kascelan, along with members of his gang, are also being tried by the Higher Court.
In December 2016, the storage unit at the Basic Court in Podgorica was torched and 200 trial documents were destroyed. Police launched an investigation but the perpetrators were not found or prosecuted.
Source : Balkaninsight