• May 27, 2024

Politicians Linked to Tobacco Smuggling

 Politicians Linked to Tobacco Smuggling
Photo: Ivan Semenovych

Montenegro’s outgoing Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic has accused the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of maintaining ties to tobacco smugglers, reports Balkan Insights.

During a parliamentary Security and Defense Council session on Oct. 17, Abazovic claimed that three major tobacco smuggling groups operate in the country, at least one of which is linked to the DPS.

Abazovic urged prosecutors to investigate his claims, adding that he would “self-arrest” if his assertions proved false.

Since the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the Port of Bar has become a center for cigarette smuggling from where imported tobacco is re-exported and cigarettes made in Montenegro are shipped.

Abazovic said the smugglers had the political support of current President Milo Djukanovic and his DPS, which held power for almost three decades.

In recent years, Montenegrin authorities have seized hundreds of tons of smuggled cigarettes and more than two tons of cocaine in Bar. Earlier this month, the head of Montenegro’s Customs Office resigned after being linked to tobacco theft in Niksic.