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Scandal in Montenegro Chess Federation forces Sakotic to resign

After many months of turmoil in the Montenegro Chess Federation, Vladimir Sakotic resigned from the post of MCF President Monday.

The crisis started during the European Youth Chess Championships which were held in Budva, Montenegro last September.

Top Montenegro chess clubs and players issued an open letter stating that:

“The purpose of this letter is an attempt to inform the public about a reasonable suspicion that the Championships are misused to provide financial benefit for NGO “Potez” from Niksic and NGO “Centar za razvoj šaha” from Belgrade, both being front for the incumbent Montenegro Chess Federation President Vladimir Sakotic.”

Sakotic is also Executive Director of European Chess Union.

The letter concluded with – “The funds are spilling into private pockets in an impertinent manner in front of the public eyes. We call on the state authorities to investigate our suspicions and to prevent any illegal acts.”

Montenegro Chess FederationAn Extraordinary MCF General Assembly was called on 24th October 2013. The financial report was accepted, but the report of Supervisory Board [which also examined EUR Youth] caused huge controversy. One Supervisor claimed that his signature was forged, while another stated that he is not standing behind the report. All three Supervisors resigned and it was decided that an independent audit should examine the accounts.

In the days after the Assembly, three members of nine in the MCF Board resigned (Grandmasters Nebojsa Nikcevic and Nikola Djukic, and Antun Vih), head of the “Chess in Schools” project Radmila Milosevic and rating administrator Veselin Balsic also resigned.

Despite the numerous demands, the documents, contracts and money flow between the Montenegro Chess Federation, European Chess Union, NGO Potez, Hotel Budvanska Rivijera, NGO Centar za razvoj saha, and sponsors (Mtel and others) were never made public.

On 28th January the legal representative of six chess clubs from the Premier League requested release of the documentation according to the Montenegro law [The Federation is a public institution like government agencies etc]. The deadline was 15 days.

The next step would be further legal actions to void the supposedly illegal contracts between MCF and NGO Potez and to press criminal charges against officials who abused their position.

The demand was reinforced by the initiative from 11 chess clubs to hold an Extraordinary General Assembly with agenda containing discussion on relevant contracts and detailed financial reports.

The MCF Board had a meeting on 20th February and stated that the Federation is not bound by the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance, but it decided to release the contracts between MCF and NGO Potez. The files are now available on the MCF website.

President Sakotic said that the crisis in the Federation is deep and offered his resignation to the Board. The Board unanimously refused. However, on 24th February Sakotic officially resigned from the post of Montenegro Chess Federation President.

Lazar Akovic was appointed as acting President until the next General Assembly.

According to a source from Montenegro, the police are checking the Federation archive.

The relations and contracts between the European Chess Union, NGO Potez and NGO Centar za razvoj saha, all subjects being connected with Sakotic, are not disclosed.

The developments around the European Youth Championships in Budva will definitely have an impact on the ECU Presidential race.

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