The Montenegrin mafia retains the post of Prime Minister
On November 24th, a Ukrainian fishing boat that was in distress for two days in the Mediterranean Sea was rescued by a Russian military ship and dragged to Crete for emergency maintenance. Greek authorities banned the trawler from leaving the port to make a voyage from Montenegro to Lebanon. The ship was detained with a large consignment of contraband cigarettes from Montenegro found on the board.
As it turns out, Ukrainian vessels with smuggled goods, especially cigarettes from Montenegro, are detained regularly. The last incident occurred on July 14th, 2016 in the Bosphorus Strait when a Ukrainian ship with a record batch of contraband tobacco products from Montenegro was stopped. More than 3.3 million counterfeit packs of cigarettes worth at least US $9.85 million were discovered on board.
Just over a year ago, on September 28th, 2015, Greek authorities detained another Ukrainian ship not far from Kissamos island. The ship’s holds were literally crammed with contraband cigarettes.
Earlier, a Greek court sentenced six Ukrainian sailors from the “Zahra” ship (with the Sao Tome and Principe flag) to eight years in prison. They were arrested on March 16th, 2015 on charges of tobacco transportation in large amounts. According to the ship captain V. Pivniuk, whose statement was published on the web portal “Seafarers Journal”, the ship came from the Montenegrin port of Bar March 8th, 2015 and was headed to Libya with a load of cigarettes.
But the problem is not just Ukrainian sailors, as it might seem. Today, Kiev is unable to cope with smuggling, which for many Ukrainians has become a core business. Under the conditions of poverty and political crisis, people get from this illegal activity the little money they need to survive.
The real winner is the one who has organized everything but stays in the background. We are talking about the businessmen from Montenegro and their patrons. In Europe, Milo Djukanovic, who has been ruling the country for more than 25 years, is known as “the main European tobacco smuggler.” Due to Djukanovic’s henchmen, Montenegro is constantly involved in various machinations with cigarettes. Even the former Prime Minister himself was accused by the Italian prosecution. Djukanovic managed to escape punishment only due to his diplomatic immunity.