The head of Montenegro’s Higher Court, Boris Savic, said authorities had investigated a tunnel dug into the court’s storage rooms in the capital Podgorica, where evidence is stored for trials.
“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,” Savic told reporters.
While police launched an investigation into the possible theft of evidence, Savic said that no evidence was currently 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,” Savic explained.
Police told reporters they are checking surveillance cameras that monitor the storage area in question, and questioning court personnel with access to the basement rooms.
Material evidence seized by police as part of investigations was stored in the court storage facility. Evidence included large quantities of drugs, weapons, and important documents.
Under Montenegrin criminal law, courts keep seized evidence until verdicts become final. At that point, evidence is to be destroyed.
Savic said reports that the laptop of the fugitive founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency Terra, Do Kwon, had been stolen were false. Kwon has been in prison in Montenegro since March this year.
“Do Kwon’s laptop isn’t missing because it wasn’t even in the Higher Court storage,” Savic explained.
Montenegro’s outgoing Justice Minister Marko Kovac called on authorities to investigate and resolve the case as soon as possible.
“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 reporters.
The Higher Court has held trials of several high-ranking state officials since February, including the former head of Supreme Court, Vesna Medenica, and the head of the Commercial Court, Blazo Jovanic.
The former high-ranking police officer Petar Lazovic and the alleged head of Kavac drug gang Slobodan Kascelan, in addition to members of Kascelan’s gang, are also being tried by the Higher Court.
The storage unit at the Basic Court in Podgorica was set alight in December 2016, and 200 trial documents were destroyed. Despite an investigation by police, the perpetrators were not found or prosecuted for the crime.
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