Corruption investigation against Montenegro Airlines widensDuring last week, police in Montenegro seized documents from the national carrier’s head office in Podgorica in an ongoing corruption investigation. The seized documents relate to the way Montenegro Airlines has debited airport taxes since 1994 until 2009. Furthermore, police is checking whether a newly purchased company car was bought legally by the airline. It is not the first time that the carrier and its management have come under investigation for corruption. Montenegro Airlines’ management is also being investigated for the way it set up its planned Serbian subsidiary, Master Airways, in Niš. In addition, the company is being scrutinised for the lease of a Fokker F100 to the now defunct Albatros Airways from Albania several years ago. The latest investigation comes days after Montenegro Airlines’ CEO, Zoran Djurišić, slammed the government for attempting to privatise the airline.
“Montenegro Airlines has no secrets and all of the business decisions it makes are in accordance to regulations and the law”, the airline said in a press release late last evening. “Over the past week, the premises of Montenegro Airlines were visited by police under the orders of the State Prosecutor. The police were interested in specific activities that have taken place in the company concerning regular company business”, the airline says. However, much of the carrier’s business performance is unknown to the general public. Until this year, the public was unaware of the airline’s mounting losses nor has the airline revealed how many passengers it has carried. Montenegro Airlines has also kept quiet the news that it is no longer a member of the Association of European Airlines. Admitted into the group of over thirty carriers in January 2010, it has been suddenly dumped without any official explanation.
Last week, the company Airports of Montenegro accused its main customer for failing to forward airport taxes for Podgorica and Tivat airports (included in the ticket price). It says that, as a result, its business has lost 8.3 million Euros.