The Italian government has begun investigating the smuggling operations; the Montenegrin Foreign Minister Branko Perovic has been implicated; and the Italian media have devoted a great deal of time and space to the question.
According to the Italian weekly Esspreso, the Office of the Prosecutor in Naples and Bari has put together 4,000 pages of evidence, including recorded conversations and testimonies.As a result, it has the material evidence to charge 46 individuals, among them three Yugoslav citizens - [Montenegrin Foreign Minister Branko] Perovic, and two less prominent Montenegrins, Rados Nedic and Abdzija Kanjik.
The first hearing of the 46 accused was scheduled for 20 September this year, but many, including Perovic
, failed to show up.The Montenegrin
Minister's lawyer claimed political immunity.
The indictment against Perovic
alleges that before becoming a minister, while a representative of the Yugoslav airline JAT in Rome, he
mediated on behalf of the Montenegrin government with Mazzarella.According to the charges, Perovic met up with the Mafia boss's lieutenant Antonio Savino on several occasions between October 1992 and October 1993 and many of the conversations were tapped by Italian police.
has already appeared in court in Rome in October 1996 where he
testified on this issue explaining that his
task was to "contact Italian entrepreneurs intending to invest in Montenegro
... among them ... individuals like Mazzarella and Savino".