The story

The state of Montenegro has a debt of 67,5 million euro, which corresponds to 6 historical palaces, 25 buildings located in the historical old town of Ulcinj, 70.000 sqm. land located among Kotor, Budva, Petrovac, Cetinje and Ulcinj, 22 surviving ships that belonged to Zetska Shipping Company and two confiscated enterprises, the Serbo-Albanian Bank and Zetska Plovidba Shipping Company.

Anastasija Gregovic

Anastasija Gregović Zuber

The creditors are three brothers sons of Anastasija Gregovic and Lale Zuber, whose real estates and business in Montenegro were  nationalized by the communist regime between 1946 and 1948. In 1966 the Zubers first made a formal request of restitution of the expropriated real estates, at least for the private properties that belonged to the family and not to the enterprises. The former Yugoslavian government answered that in order to start a restitution process a specific law law would be necessary. The denationalization law or restitution law was passed in Momtenegro only in 2004, then modified in 2007.

But who was Lale Zuber? A Montenegrin man born in 1888 near Cetinje who in 1920 returned to his homeland and brought there huge private capitals derived from his business in North America and Turkey. Lale Zuber contributed to the revival of a devastated Montenegrin economy following the first world war planting business, creating infrastructures, providing financial services thus creating welfare through a thousand employs among his maritime and road  enterprises, his private bank and other collateral activities generated on the territory.

Beside the Zetska Plovidba shipping company whose fleet of 37 vessels assured a wide network of maritime connections in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean sea, Lale Zuber had also founded the Serbo-Albanian Bank in Cetinje in 1922, which served the people and the local business.

When he bought the Power station in Cetinje he developed it in order to match the increasing demand of electric supply for the industry and the private use.

All personal investments of Lale Zuber wholly remained in Montenegro.

In 2004 Montenegro passed the law of restitution, then modified in 2007

The application for restitution was promptly made by the Zubers according to the law for all properties located in the municipalities of Kotor, Budva, Cetinje and Ulcinj.

Before their expropriation the properties belonged to the enterprises of Lale N. Zuber, namely to Zetska Shipping Company (71,64% shares) and to the Srpsko-Albanska Bank (98,56% shares), or to Anastasija Gregovic.

In the restitution process the Zuber Gregovic are assisted by lawyer Marika Novakovic of Podgorica, Montenegro.

For further references see: a) The Historical Lexicon of Montenegro Vol.1, p. 17,18; b) the book “Od Bokeljske do Zetske Plovidbe” written by Vasilije Vasko Jankovic – iz istorije brodarstva knjiga 2009.