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Lager and UniCredit Could Be Paying A Multimillion-dollar Compensation

According to the first-instance judgment of the Sarajevo Municipal Court, the company Lager from Posušje and UniCredit Bank are to pay BAM 18.9 million to the company Paloč from Gornji Vakuf for the damage caused by the purchase of a work machine.

Lager from Posušje and UniCredit bank from Mostar are to pay BAM 18.9 million to the company Paloč from Gornji Vakuf for the damage arising from the purchase of an expensive stone crusher, says the first-instance judgment of the Sarajevo Municipal Court.

In late 2015, the company Paloč bought the TESAB machine from Lager for BAM 782,000, through Unicredit leasing from Sarajevo, whose legal successor is Unicredit bank. According to the judgment, Paloč did not receive the machine he ordered. Instead of a yellow machine, the company was delivered a white one, but having received reassurance that this deviation is insignificant relative to the order, they took it.  It was later discovered that the crusher was not new i.e., it was not manufactured in 2015 as it should have been, instead, its parts were imported to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 2011, as CIN previously reported.

This was discovered very quickly upon delivery. Due to frequent breakdowns, from the end of November 2015 to the middle of 2016, it run only for 530 machine hours, which is about 28% of its total capacity, said a mechanical expert during the court proceedings. Due to the above reasons and the fact that neither after the interventions were the defects permanently fixed, Paloč could not produce or process stone and ultimately lost its business contracts.  They tried to settle the dispute out of court but having failed, they decided to file a lawsuit in 2016.

Lager’s faulty goods
Justice institutions are investigating the operations of the company Lager from Posušje due to deals worth around four million BAM. The company has been suspected of delivering altered machines to customers instead of new ones.

According to the court judgment, the damage includes the lost profit of the company Paloč, physical protection and storage of the machine, and court expenses, and  Lager and UniCredit would have to take away, at their own expense, the machine currently located at the quarry in Žepče.

This judgment can be appealed.

The lawyer of the company Paloč, Slaven Dizdar said that they are satisfied with the verdict and will not appeal it. Before filing the lawsuit, they thought that UniCredit Leasing, as the actual owner of the machine in question, would join them in the lawsuit against Lager.

“Instead, they’ve been disregarding the documented facts and denying categorically any liability. This suggests that they have apparently acted in collusion with the Lager,” said Dizdar.

According to Nikica Gržić, the lawyer of UniCredit bank, this judgment is an example of how a judgment should not be”. He holds that his client is not liable for the damage, hence he filed an appeal, but if the first-instance judgment is upheld, he will seek compensation from the vendor, i.e. Lager.

The lawyer of the company Lager, Đorđe Jugović said that they do not comment on judgments that are not final: “Anyway, we are convinced that the second-instance court will uphold the appeal and reverse or quash the judgment and send the case for retrial.”

During the proceedings, they challenged the lawsuit and the amount of damage, claiming that the year of manufacture is considered the year of assembly of components that were not previously used, and that the breakdowns occurred due to unprofessional use of the crusher.

Lager is a party to another pending legal case before the Sarajevo Municipal Court. This case was brought by Rudnik Gračanica from Gornji Vakuf. According to this lawsuit, in April 2016, they bought a Terex machine from Lager for BAM 725,600, but the machine was constantly malfunctioning, thus interrupting their work. Also, they claim that Lager was late with the delivery and installation of spare parts. According to their assessment, the company from Posušje owes them around half a million marks for the damage caused. In their response to the lawsuit, Lager claimed that the interruptions were unjustified and that some machine hours were not recorded.

The Tuzla Canton Prosecutor’s Office is also investigating the purchase of a BAM 3 million worth excavator, which Lager sold to Đurđevik Coal Mine in 2014. Namely, the Mine got a modified Hyundai excavator whose original diesel engine was replaced by an electric one, and the original bucket was replaced as well.

During the investigation, Hyundai confirmed that they manufacture excavators like the one delivered to the Đurđevik Coal Mine, but with a diesel engine and a smaller bucket than the one delivered to the Mine. They also confirmed to have delivered an excavator, as they make it, to Lager.

In the letter Lager sent to CIN they said that the excavator was adapted to the needs of the customer with the manufacturer’s approval and that the modifications were performed by the certified company HELB, which does this kind of work throughout Europe.

The prosecutorial decision has not yet been rendered in this case.

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