Statute of limitations in the case of Vuksanović, the “Italian model” of the law on confiscation of property urgently needed


Author: Tina Popović (Independent Daily Vijesti)

If there were elements of a criminal offense during the transactions of the family of the former high-ranking state official Božidar Vuksanović, whose property increased by more than a quarter of a million euros in 2008 and 2009, the Special State Prosecutor’s Office (SSPO) will not investigate it because, as they claim, the statute of limitations has expired.

On January 25, MANS forwarded to the SSPO the initiative for the implementation of measures, along with documentation, according to which Božidar Vuksanović and his son Bojan traded real estate worth around 270,000 euros in just those two years, which the former public official neither reported to the then Commission for Prevention of Conflict of Interest, nor it can it be justified by official income. Vuksanović previously said that it was a “matter of inheritance”.

“The fact that the family of Mr. Vuksanović could not explain in any way how they had acquired property worth over a quarter of a million euros, more precisely around 270,000 euros, is an additional point in support of the need to adopt a law on confiscation of property according to the Italian model. In the specific case, the SSPO rejected our initiative with the explanation that there was a statute of limitation on possible criminal acts related to the abuse of office, from which Vuksanović could have acquired this money. This is exactly why MANS advocates for the Italian model”, MANS’ Director Vanja Ćalović Marković told “Vijesti”.

The Italian model, she explains, does not imply that the existence of a criminal offense is necessary. “If such law were in force, Mr. Vuksanović would have to prove where he got a legitimate, legal sources of funds for this property or the state would confiscate it”, Ćalović Marković said.


After evaluating the content of the initiative and the submitted documentation, the SSPO rejected the initiative of MANS, with the explanation that “the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution has expired”.

“On January 25, 2024, the NGO Network for Affirmation of the Non-Governmental Sector (MANS) submitted an initiative to the Special State Prosecutor’s Office for the implementation of measures, in which it was stated that the Investigative Centre of that NGO, by processing publicly available data on the income and assets of the former of public official Božidar Vuksanović, who in the past 20 years held several public positions within the civil service, but also in the state-owned state companies, came to the conclusion that Vuksanović, together with members of his immediate family, spent the amount of 270,000 euros for the purchase of real estate in a period of two years in his own name and in the name of his family members, while by looking at the reports on income and assets on the website of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption, it is evident that there are no traces of that money, no indication that there were savings, credit, or loans and that, on the other hand, the reported income Vuksanović and his family were nowhere near enough to cover these purchases, as well as the fact that he himself stated in his answers to the questions of MANS that it was an ‘matter of inheritance’, of which there are also no traces in his property records”, the decision signed by the special prosecutor Zoran Vučinić reads.

In his rationale, he states that the SSPO considered the initiative as a criminal complaint against Božidar Vuksanović, “whose actions, taking into account the rules on the time limitation of criminal legislation, in a subjective and objective sense could only point to the existence of grounds for suspicion that, as a public official at the time, he possibly committed criminal offense of abuse of office and money laundering”.

Vučinić also explains the penalties the Criminal Code of Montenegro stipulates for these crimes. He notes that the Criminal Code stipulates that “criminal prosecution cannot be initiated ten years from the commission of a criminal offence punishable under law by a prison sentence for a term exceeding five years.”

​”The statute of limitations for criminal prosecution in relation to Božidar Vuksanović, began on 18.12.2018 at the latest for both criminal offenses, while in relation to Bojan Vuksanović, the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution began on 08.10.2019 at the latest, i.e. in any case, much earlier than the criminal charges against them were filed with the Special State Prosecutor’s Office”, Vučinić explained.


According to Ćalović Marković, the Italian model would be a key solution in Montenegro’s conditions.

“Bearing in mind that numerous cases of illegal acquisition of property occurred in the previous 30 years and that for some of them there is either no evidence or the statute of limitations has expired, we believe that the key solution is the adoption of the Italian model. That model implies that there is a significant difference between official income and assets, which cannot be explained, and it is about persons who are suspected of being connected to some criminal structures or, in our case, of having held some high positions and that they were able to obtain some funds by abusing their official position”, Ćalović Marković explained.

The Director of MANS expects that the Ministry of Justice will “finally launch some more concrete activities on this issue”.

“… Because I believe that this law could be adopted quickly should there be a political will. The Ministry of Justice has recently announced cooperation with Italian institutions, I hope that it will not take years to realise that, but that we will be concrete activities in the near future. In this way, we could return enormous funds to the state budget and finally see justice that we have been waiting for more than three years”, Ćalović Marković stated.


MANS Investigative Centre of MANS obtained documents according to which the family of a long-time high-ranking state official, Božidar Vuksanović, acquired several properties worth more than a quarter of a million euros in two years, but this money was not reported in the official reports on income and assets.

Although in 2008 Vuksanović officially claimed that his children were not employed, his son Bojan bought a 156-m2 apartment and a garage in the “Normal Company” building, in the elite part of Podgorica, at the intersection of St. Peter of Cetinje and George Washington boulevards.

A little later that year, Božidar Vuksanović also bought a 200-m2 plot in Žabljak, but he did not report it to the then competent Commission for Prevention of Conflict of Interest.

Next year already (2009), Vuksanović Jr. concluded another purchase agreement with the same construction company, this time for business premises in the settlement Stari Aerodrom, with an area of 129 square meters. The contract states that it is a real estate under the so-called “rough construction works”, and that Vuksanović Jr. already paid the contracted amount of 78,600 euros.

None of these transactions were reported to the then competent Commission for Prevention of Conflict of Interest, although there was a legal obligation to do so.

It is not known from which funds the purchase of real estate worth over 270 thousand euros was financed, because the Vuksanović family neither had reported savings or inheritance during that period, nor did they report the existence of loans that would serve this purpose.

Back then, Vuksanović replied that he did not wish to comment on the documents of the MANS Investigative Centre and that what he had reported to the competent authorities was correct. He also briefly said that the purchase of his son’s properties was a “matter of inheritance”.

According to data from the website of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption, the Vuksanović family did not report the existence of any inheritance. In the previous period, thanks to his membership in the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), he was appointed to numerous positions, including the position of director of the Police Directorate, the Customs Administration, the Administration for the Execution of Criminal Sanctions…

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