Kosovo dispatch: extradited businessman’s testimony in land dispute with Kosovars could lead to arrest of former Montenegro president Dispatches
Kosovo dispatch: extradited businessman’s testimony in land dispute with Kosovars could lead to arrest of former Montenegro president

Ernesa Shala is a JURIST staff correspondent in Kosovo and a recent graduate of the University of Pristina Faculty of Law. She files this dispatch from Pristina. 

Montenegro businessman Dushko Knezhević was extradited from Great Britain to Montenegro at the end of May and has been remanded in custody. The Montenegrin Special Prosecutor’s Office filed eight indictments against him, including charges of creating a criminal organization and money laundering. His company, Rekreaturs, in which he owns 99 percent of the shares, was also involved in a legal battle with the Kosovo Privatization Agency over 33,000 square meters of land on the beach of Kamenova in Budva.

Since 2019, the Special Prosecutor’s Office has accused Knezhević of damaging the state budget by hundreds of millions through criminal organizations. He is charged with abuse of position, creation of a criminal organization, and money laundering. Knezhević fled to London in 2019, evading judicial authorities, and Montenegro issued an Interpol warrant for him that year.

Reports have now surfaced that his testimony could lead to the arrest of former Montenegrin President and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. Croatian media outlet Jutarnji List, citing sources in Podgorica, suggested Djukanovic’s arrest is imminent. Montenegrin media indicated that Knezhević has agreed to cooperate as a “repentant protected witness.”

Knezhević’s legal issues extend beyond Montenegro. The Kosovo Privatization Agency (KPA) sued Rekreaturs, claiming it had stolen 33,000 square meters of property on the Kamenova beach. The KPA pursued the case in both Montenegrin courts and the International Court of Justice in Strasbourg, alleging that Rekreaturs illegally moved its headquarters from Pristina to Budva and acquired the property unlawfully after the 1999 Kosovo war.

The contested land has been a resort for Kosovars since 1957. Following the Kosovo War in 1999, Kosovars moved into the dilapidated resort, leading to legal battles over ownership. The KPA claimed the property was taken illegally, but Rekreaturs’ employees moved the company’s headquarters to Budva and registered the property under their name.

Fifteen years ago, the Basic Court of Kotor issued a temporary measure prohibiting the alienation and possession of the land. Despite this, three and a half years ago, Atlas Group announced plans to develop a luxury tourist resort on the site, intending to invest 88 million euros in the project. However, the project never commenced.