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High-level corruption cases in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Influencing court verdicts “Kurir” - High-level corruption cases in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Influencing court verdicts “Kurir”

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Introduction

The case involves an alleged scheme that took place between 2013 and 2016 to illegally register property ownership in civil court proceedings.

According to the indictment, an organised criminal group was formed of three lawyers (Ismet Hamzić, Esad Hrvačić and Samina Skopak), a judge (Milena Rajić), five court employees and other accomplices (Mirsada Alić, Pero Vuković, Zaim Spahović, Tanja Jović, Branka Husanović, Muamer Pit and Elmin Džino).

Country
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sector
Public institutions
Phase
1st instance procedure

Description of the case

The case involves an alleged scheme that took place between 2013 and 2016 to illegally register property ownership in civil court proceedings.

According to the indictment, an organised criminal group was formed of three lawyers (Ismet Hamzić, Esad Hrvačić and Samina Skopak), a judge (Milena Rajić), five court employees and other accomplices (Mirsada Alić, Pero Vuković, Zaim Spahović, Tanja Jović, Branka Husanović, Muamer Pit and Elmin Džino).

The group identified potential clients who were interested in registering as property owners in court proceedings. Bribed court employees assigned the cases to judge Milena Rajić. Court couriers then forged signatures so that it appeared that the defendants had been summoned to trial. Since the defendants were unaware of the hearings and could not attend, lawyer Ismet Hamzić asked the court to issue default judgements (Article 182 of the Civil Procedure Law) and accept the plaintiff’s claim.

The indictment claims that judge Rajić made an illegal default judgement in 46 cases for property worth KM5.4 million (€2.7 million). The group attempted to do the same in a further 17 cases for property valued at KM2.9 million (€1.5 million). Hence, rightful property owners were damaged or could have been damaged for a total of KM8.3 million (€4.2 million).

The lawyer Hamzić personally gained KM128,000 (€65,400) in lawyers’ fees and judge Jović KM11,000 (€5,600). As the criminal scheme involved such a large number of people from different sections of the judiciary, it has undermined trust in the judicial system (see here).