Atlas Shrugged: Politics, Organized Crime, and Finance in Montenegro

A first scandal?

Before President Donald Trump’s unceremonious shove of its Prime Minister at a 2017 NATO summit, Montenegro was largely known to Western audiences for its luxurious resorts and majestic mountainous highlands. Among the citizens of the five other countries that once made up the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), however, Montenegro is well known as a hub for illicit trade and corruption. If there is any truth to these preconceptions, it is certainly linked to the sulphurous reputation of the Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović.

The Atlas affair

In January of 2019, Duško Knežević, a former supporter of Đukanović’s party and CEO of the Montenegro-based Atlas Group, leaked a video which depicted Knežević handing over an envelope allegedly containing a sum of 100,000€ to Podgorica’s mayor. Being that the mayor is an influential member of the DPS, Knežević explained that his “donation” would ensure that the Atlas Group would receive preferential treatment when it came to future construction bids and touristic ventures in Montenegro. Since then, Knežević fled to London and released documents indicating that President Đukanović had taken lavish vacations abroad whose tab was picked up by Atlas Group.

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Undergraduate student in Political Science at the University of Ottawa. I write about Eastern European political issues and culture.

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Pavle Bozalo

Pavle Bozalo

Undergraduate student in Political Science at the University of Ottawa. I write about Eastern European political issues and culture.