EFT, Hamović dropped from corruption case

Prosecutors haved dropped EFT, GML and Vuk Hamović as suspects in an energy trading case involving Elektropriveda Republika Srpska they have been pressing for three years.

An international prosecutor for the Special Department for Organized Crime, Economic Crimes and Corruption of the Prosecutors Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina this week dropped the Energy Financing Team as a suspect in a three-year-old corruption case, according to the company.

That investigation, prompted by a special audit done at the command of the Office of the High Representative, had focused on energy and debt trading by Elektroprivreda RS.

Two former director generals of the public power utility as well as Vuk Hamović, the Serbian businessmen who heads EFT, were suspected of crimes including abuse of office, bribery and signing damaging contracts in deals completed in the early 2000s.

EFT representatives, who have steadfastly maintained the firm did nothing wrong and that the special audit was flawed, said the actions by international prosecutor Jonathan Ratel proved that the company’s financial dealings are legal.

‘EFT can finally go back to our business and realize our full potential in BiH’ said company spokesman Nenad Savić. ‘…the closure of the investigation will disperse reservations among banks when it comes to giving loans to EFT as a consequence of the investigation.’

Ratel would not comment on the case, including why EFT was dropped as a suspect in the investigation of Elektroprivreda, which remains open. Hamović and GML International, a London investment firm where Hamović had been a director, also were dropped as suspects.

The criminal code allows prosecutors three reasons to stop investigating a suspect: the suspect has not committed a crime, or there is not enough evidence the suspect had done anything criminal, or some obstacle hinders prosecution. The case against EFT could be reopened if new evidence is found.

The code requires the prosecutor to inform suspects that they have been dropped from an investigation, but not the court.

The Serious Fraud Office of Great Britain continues to investigate EFT. Ratel asked the SFO several years ago to help look into the accusations against the company, which is based in the UK and where Hamović and his business partner maintain citizenship.

‘The investigation is ongoing’ SFO spokeswoman Jina Roe said Wednesday. ‘No arrests have been made. No persons have been charged. For operational reasons, no further information can be given.’

Savić said he hoped the SFO investigation would be favorably affected by the fact that the company had been dropped as a suspect by the same prosecutor who had asked for assistance from UK authorities.