Proceedings Against Businessman Miroslav Kutle in Diona Case Discontinued

By 17 March 2021
Proceedings Against Businessman Miroslav Kutle in Diona Case Discontinued

ZAGREB, 17 March, 2021 - The Zagreb County Court on Wednesday discontinued proceedings in a case against runaway businessman Miroslav Kutle in which he was charged with having siphoned HRK 120 million from his former company Diona.

The court's indictment division determined that the prosecution had failed to prove war profiteering on Kutle's part, and since the statute of limitations had expired on the main incriminating activity, white-collar crime, the court rejected the indictment.

The court believes that charges of war profiteering cannot be proven by merely maintaining that abuse in business operations with which Kutle was charged is war profiteering because it happened to occur at the time of the 1991-95 Homeland War.

Kutle was charged with having siphoned money from Diona from 1994 to 1998 through fictitious loan agreements and that he used the money thus obtained for loans to 23 companies he owned.

The Zagreb County Court earlier rejected several indictments against the runaway businessman for the same reason.

In 2010, he was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for wrongdoing in the ownership transformation of the Gradski Podrum company and the Zagreb County Court last July discontinued proceedings in that case due to the expiry of the statute of limitations.

In July 2000 the Zagreb prosecutor's office issued an indictment against Kutle and other suspects charging them with siphoning money from the Tisak newspaper distributor in 1996 and 1997. After that, the indictment was changed five times. Initially 12 persons were indicted and eventually the number of indictees was reduced to seven. Kutle and his co-defendants were indicted with causing financial damage in the amount of HRK 47 million, but eventually the damage was estimated at HRK 30 million.

The prosecution last amended the indictment in late April 2016, when it tried to circumvent the imminent expiry of the state of limitations with allegations of war profiteering.

However, its manoeuvre, just as in other cases against Kutle, was unsuccessful because the statute of limitations on charges of abuse had expired while allegations of war profiteering were rejected last summer, with the court ruling that they had not been substantiated, after which Kutle and his co-defendants were acquitted.

The prosecution appealed, but their appeal was rejected and the acquittal in the Tisak case became final.

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