Defendants in the Case of Fahrudin Čago et al at Arraignment Hearing

The Court of BiH continued today the arraignment hearing of defendants in the case of Fahrudin Čago et al that began on August 13 of this year. Most of the defendants entered not guilty pleas on organized crime, tax evasion and money laundering charges.

The indictment lists as defendants a Zenica firm Čago Komerc, Fahrudin Čago and Smail Mujčinović, the owner and director of this firm respectively, and another 12 firms which did business with Čago Komerc and 21 natural persons, among whom were the employees of the mentioned companies.

The defendant Mladen Marković did not show up at the arraignment hearing and an arrest warrant will be issued after him, while a Tuzla resident Nedžad Galić pleaded temporary insanity.

Galić submitted documents from the Tuzla Welfare Center that read he was not capable of working independently and running a business and that he was a mentally handicapped person not capable of committing a crime he has been charged with. “I’ve been taken advantage of and cheated”, said Galić.

Galić submitted documents from the Tuzla Welfare Center that read he was not capable of working independently and running a business and that he was a mentally handicapped person not capable of committing a crime he has been charged with. “I’ve been taken advantage of and cheated”, said Galić.

According to the indictment, Čago komerc” purchased cigarettes from tobacco factories in Rovinj and Sarajevo and sold it on without without issuing bills of sale between 2006 and 2009. False invoices were made out for these sales and addressed to 12 accused legal entities, with falsely reported approved rebates and reduced sales price of cigarettes, thus reducing the tax base. The cash from these sales was kept in a safe on Čago’s premises.

In this manner the budgets of BiH and FBiH were damaged for a total sum of 3.3 million KM. The payment of value added tax (VAT) was evaded in the amount of 1.6 million KM and another 1.7 million KM in income taxes.

According to the indictment, Čago was the mastermind of a criminal group which was involved in the procurement and distribution of cigarettes. It was well hierarchically organized with clearly designated roles. According to the indictment Čago was the head of the group, while the director Mujčinović worked under his guidance.

The accused employees of the company “Čago komerc”, drafted documentation on fictitious transactions of cigarettes, led internal – hidden cashbooks and detected the accused legal entities to which the obligation to pay VAT was transferred on the basis of fictitious documentation.

After some of the defendants entered their pleas in the mid-August hearing, these defendants entered their pleas today: a legal entity Čago Komerc, a Jelah-based Nerkomerc, a Tuzla-based Ama Prom and Nedžad Galić from Tuzla, as well as Nermin Mujanović and a Živinice-based Belmin Komerc.

Published on August 29, 2012