Montenegrin Prosecution Urged to Investigate Billionaire’s Asylum Status

Montenegrin Special State Prosecutor Vladimir Novovic (L) and head of Police Directorate Nikola Terzic (R) in Podgorica. Photo: Parliament of Montenegro

On October 22, 2021, Montenegro gave political asylum to the billionaire, who is on a Russian-issued international arrest warrant for allegedly ordering contract murders.

"We expect the prosecution to launch an investigation and determine whether someone in Montenegrin judiciary or other parts of the decision-making system took 5 million dollars and enabled Ismail's political asylum. We also recall that current Special State Prosecutor Vladimir Novovic was the investigating judge in that case," For the Future of Montenegro said.

Special State Prosecutor Vladimir Novovic did not comment on the accusations.

Ismailov was arrested in Montenegro's capital, Podgorica, on October 1, 2021, but his lawyer Milos Vuksanovic said that on September 8 he had applied to the Montenegrin Interior Ministry for political asylum, and should not be extradited until a decision is made.

Montenegrin authorities have not explained why they then gave political asylum to Ismalov; media reported that he was offered protection due to the known existence of persecution in Russia based on political opinion.

In February, Russia's Foreign Ministry did not allow a then Montenegrin Interior Ministry official, Zoran Miljanic, to enter the country in a dispute over Montenegro's decision to give asylum to Ismailov.

On October 24, 2021, Russia's Tass news agency reported that the head of the Russian Security Committee, Alexander Bastrokin, had ordered an investigation into why Montenegro had refused to extradite Ismailov.

The Russian arrest warrant, from 2017, charges Ismailov with involvement in a...

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