Ex-Minister, State Employee Behind Bars Awaiting Interrogation by EPPO

By 7 July 2022
Ex-Minister, State Employee Behind Bars Awaiting Interrogation by EPPO
Photo: Slavko Midzor/PIXSELL

ZAGREB, 7 July 2022 - Former agriculture minister Tomislav Tolušić and Željko Ferenc, an employee of the Paying Agency for Agriculture, who were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of subsidy fraud and abuse of office in two wine sector tenders, are to be interrogated by European investigators.

Tolušić and Ferenc, who were apprehended in their homes in the eastern Croatian city of Virovitica on a warrant issued by the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), have been transferred to Zagreb for questioning.

A Zagreb County Court investigating judge will decide on their detention if the European investigators make such a request.

Media outlets say that Tolušić was granted HRK 2.5 million in aid for his winery project under the EU scheme in which half of the sum is covered by the non-repayable grant and the other half is provided by the business concerned.

However, it has turned out that Tolušić's putative sum of another HRK 2.5 million did not exist and that he provided false evidence to show that he met the requirements for the grant.

Tolušić reportedly incited Ferenc to give a positive opinion on his application for the grant, although the application falsely stated that the piece of land in question had no crops planted in it, when in fact he had previously planted a vineyard there.

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