Prosecution wants controversial lottery draw investigated

The Higher Public Prosecutor's Office in Belgrade has ordered the police to gather information and establish the facts about a controversial state lottery draw.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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The prosecution wants information and facts about "the potential criminal responsibility and irregularities during the draw of the State Lottery of Serbia late on Tuesday," it was announced on Wednesday.

"When it comes to the State Lottery of Serbia, we are fully aware that this case caused widespread alarm among citizens, which is why we will deliver timely information to the public about the results of the investigation," Republic Public Prosecutor Zagorka Dolovac told Tanjug.

The 59th round of the lottery draw late on Tuesday caused great suspicion about the regularity of the game of chance, media reported.

Namely, the fifth number in the winning combination appeared on the screen before the ball with that number was even taken out of the machine.

After a seemingly regular draw of the first three numbers (4, 33 and 12), suspicions arose as the number 21 was displayed on the screen instead of the number 27, the fourth to be actually taken out of the machine. After that, the ball with the number 21 was drawn as the fifth number.

The State Lottery of Serbia (DLS) said that a technical mistake occurred due to human error.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic commented on the incident on Wednesday, to say that "if there were any elements of a criminal act in the draw of numbers in the lottery late on Tuesday, all responsible individuals will suffer the consequences for this."

DLS Director Aleksandar Vulovic also held a press conference to say that the lottery draw on Tuesday was "absolutely regular" and that he was "confirming" there was not a single reason to suspect otherwise.

He said those who did were "mixing up graphical problems and the course of the draw," adding there was "not a single mechanism that could be used to influence the result."

Vulovic also explained how the human error in question occurred:

"Instead of typing in the number 27, he entered 21. At that point, I guess after realizing what he did, the man entered the number 27. In other words, the number of the ball that had been drawn. Now - it was a coincidence, I say, under some laws of probability, there was the possibility that the ball 21 would be drawn, and it was. If you ask me, there's nothing strange there as far as I'm concerned."

Asked about Vucic's comments and announcements that the police and the prosecution will investigate, Vulovic said the DLS would respect all decisions made by the government "as its employer" and will "carry out the procedure to determine the error during the last draw and sanctions those responsible for violating the rules."

He added it would be "the least of all problems" for him to resign from the helm of the DLS - "if it is determined that there were irregularities during the draw."

Two commissions are charged with monitoring each state lottery draw, and their members include people from the Tax Administration who have signed documents verifying the regularity of the draw.

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