Media: New Allegations Against HDZ President Karamarko

By 24 May 2016

Nacional weekly published new documents about business dealings between First Deputy Prime Minister Karamarko and MOL’s consultant Josip Petrović.

Today’s edition of Nacional weekly has published new documents which allegedly prove direct business links between MOL’s lobbyist Josip Petrović and HDZ president and First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko, report Nacional and Index.hr on May 24, 2016.

Nacional claims that it has published secret reports which were delivered to Josip Petrović which prove that Petrović, who was at the time working for INA, was making payments to Karamarko’s company Soboli. It seems that these are somewhat older documents that show what kind of relationship Karamarko and Petrović had while Karamarko was working in the private sector.

According to Nacional, Tomislav Karamarko worked for INA while Josip Petrović was still a member of its Board of Director and when Hungarian MOL was already a partial owner of INA. In 2004, as director of the Soboli company, Karamarko was directly involved in drafting confidential business assessments and reports for INA. Nacional claims that it has received written reports which Soboli sent to INA. According to notes on the documents, these reports were delivered directly to Petrović.

The reports were marked as secret, whereas the examination of their contents allegedly shows that they were written using the same font and font size which were used for reports prepared by the Security Intelligence Agency at the time. All in all, there were five such reports that were delivered to Petrović between 1 and 5 March 2005. The reports analyze business and political issues in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and relate to processes that might be associated with the interests of INA.

Karamarko is considered to be the founder and former owner of the controversial company Soboli which began operating in 2002. After it was discovered that Soboli largely worked for state companies, Karamarko, who was by then the Interior Minister in the government of Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, said there was no affair, because he ceased to be the owner of the company in 2005.

Karamarko claimed that he sold his shares in Soboli just before he became the head of the Security Intelligence Agency. However, there were claims that Karamarko still had an influence on the operations of the company, so at the time there were reports about potential conflict of interest.

Six years ago, Karamarko’s Interior Ministry officially announced that it would not investigate its own minister in the Podravka case, when it came out the that the management of Podravka prior to its arrest had been paying large sums to the account of Soboli which is a "business intelligence company”.

A few years later, NGO Partnership for Social Development filed a criminal complaint against Karamarko due to contracts which Soboli had with Croatian Motorways public company and many other state-owned companies. However, this complaint was dismissed in March this year.