Chess bits

Serbia in the turmoil with European Championships

sahFollowing the police investigations in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia and in connection with bank accounts in Slovenia and chess offshore companies in Delaware, the question of corruption in chess will apparently be raised in Serbia too.

According to the information from Serbia, a second criminal charge against the former president of Serbian Chess Federation Miroslav Kopanja is being prepared.

Some points from the first criminal charge will be reinforced, particularly those pointing to embezzlement and abuse of authority (Serbian Criminal Law articles 234, 363, 364).

A separate case before the court will be brought against Miroslav Kopanja as president of the regional Vojvodina Chess Federation for breaking the Statutes of the Serbian Chess Federation. Namely, Vojvodina Chess Federation has appealed against the European Chess Union to CAS in Lausanne before completing the due process in the national chess federation, to which it was obliged.

The former president Kopanja even went as far as to pressurize the European Chess Union into canceling the European Chess Club Cup 2016 in Serbia and moving in to another country. As the files reveal, Kopanja was signing the contracts regarding the Club Cup in the name of the Serbian Chess Federation, but insisted on receiving the payments through the account of Vojvodina Chess Federation, which are without any control.

These contracts for the events were not even filed in the federation books, but were instead held by the persons involved in the investigations in other countries.

A source familiar with the matter commented: “Serbian chess public is not even aware that Kopanja, as someone who presents himself as “protector of chess in Serbia”, is at the same time persistently working against the interests of the Federation to which he still claims presidency despite being legally removed from the post. Can any chess player see logic in all this?”

The recently published articles in Bulgarian mass-media track the corruption in chess as high as to the Ministry of Sport.

The cases in all these countries are involving Interpol, units for fight against the organized crime, offshore bank accounts and massive embezzlement charges.

At the present Serbia is the only country in the neighborhood where the management of the international chess events was not investigated. Apparently this will change soon and the state authorities will review the accounts for the ECU tournaments organized in the period 2009-2015.

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