Thursday, 23 September 2021

How Croatian Businessman Allegedly Kicked Turkey Out of €150m Project

September the 23rd, 2021 - A scandal involving a Croatian businessman and Turkey has caused international scandal and seen powerful politicians from both countries apparently discuss it.

As RTL/Silvana Mendjusic writes, the construction of the first geothermal power plant in Ciglena near Bjelovar in a project worth more than 300 million kuna, and it was started together, and the Turkish investor, the majority owner, cut the ribbon in the company of Minister Tomislav Coric. Production at Geoen began, and huge sums of money and generous support began to flow into an account.

Over a period of twelve years, they were supposed to earn more than a billion, and then it all got complicated. The minority owner, Croatian businessman and entrepreneur Dragan Jurilj, allegedly set out to get the Turks kicked out of the story and has so far succeeded. While he claims that everything is being carried out according to the law, the Turks claim that their investment was stolen from them. They're threatening arbitration, warning that in the end everything will be paid for by Croatian citizens, and they have even called on Erdogan for help.

On the sidelines of the summit in Antalya, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Turkish President Erdogan talked about illegal migration, Bosnia and Herzegovina, economic cooperation, but also one concrete and currently very ''hot'' case involving this Croatian businessman.

"We've been informed that our President Erdogan mentioned the case to the Croatian Prime Minister," said lawyer Ozlem Canbeldek Akin.

According to the legal representative of the Turkish company BLT, who claims that their Croatian partner stole a project worth more than a billion kuna from, the stakes are high, and they're equally nervous on both sides.

"How they did not have a fair trial!? All of these processes are legitimate and every investor in the Republic of Croatia is obliged to respect final court decisions, whether they're satisfied with the outcome or not. I'm not satisfied with all these verdicts," said Dragan Jurilj.

The dispute, which has now risen to quite a high political level, is one taking place much lower down, a few thousand metres below the surface in fact, deep in the geothermal treasures of Croatia in which these former partners are arguing over the ownership of the Velika geothermal power plant near Bjelovar. The Turks claim: "We've invested about 300 million kuna in this, that's roughly 55 to 60 million euros. We have invested a lot, and now we've been left with nothing."

At the beginning of this saga, which is all to do with the ownership ratio within Geoen - the project holder was 80 percent for the Turkish company, and 20 percent for the Croatian businessman and their partner, Dragan Jurilj.

"I gave the company 157 million in appraised assets - four wells, permits, a power purchase agreement, concessions... I didn't indebt the company, I gave the company 157 million. They were supposed to give 300 million to give and not borrow based on my assets. They they just took out loans and indebted the company,'' said Jurilj.

''Why didn't you take out a loan yourself?'' Jurilj is asked.

- Well, OK.

''You had no references at the time...''

- That's right. I didn’t have any references at the time, but for references you get a commission or some smaller percentage, you don’t get 80 percent.

''Okay, did you agree to it?''

- I didn't agree to anything. They were supposed to convert that loan after the completion of the project, they were one hundred percent indebted to the company, and they were supposed to convert it into capital reserves. They didn't do that.

Two years ago, the geothermal power plant was inaugurated. According to the agreement, the financing is on the side of BLT. And we've met those requirements. BLT has provided the capital and a loan," he said.

Along with Muharem Balat, the owner of the Turkish company, Minister Coric openly praised the project. He will now be asked to rule on the administrative proceedings.

"Our investment was stolen from our shareholders, we want compensation from those shareholders. But if we fail in that, then we'll have to go to the European Court of Human Rights and we'll seek arbitration and compensation which will then end up being the burden of Croatian taxpayers which we wouldn't have wanted… "

The foundation of any such move, he says, will be the thesis that they didn't have the right to a fair trial in Croatia.

"There's no arbitration, so Croatia can't be responsible for inter-member relations, the Republic of Croatia can only be responsible if it harms the project, if the project stops functioning for any reason ...", said Dragan Jurilj.

When operating, the geothermal power plant produces electricity for about 29,000 households in total. The power plant is a privileged producer of energy, as it produces electricity from renewable sources, it is then sold on at a discounted price. This directly regards about one billion and 200 million kuna of revenue annually, if not more.

Last year’s amount alone is enough to understand why these ex-partners are fighting so hard for ownership, as back in 2020, they produced 76.2 gigawatt hours of electricity and 120 million kuna without VAT was paid. The market value of energy was 21 million kuna and the amount of aid paid out was 99 million kuna. This generous relationship between the market and the preferential price is the greatest thing this plant can boast of.

It all started last year, say the more than disgruntled Turkish partners. Jurilj then sent an envelope to Turkey marked as an invitation to the Assembly of the Society. But it wasn't an invitation to the Assembly, but some unimportant documentation. Invitations to the assembly don't need to be notarised. If you register an envelope in the post office as an invitation to the Assembly - it is classed as an invitation. So, he registered it and at the session of the Assembly in our absence he changed the management. According to our agreement, our members must be on the board. They kicked us out of that session.

How the deception of the Turks began, according to them...

"I sent an invitation to the Assembly based on the Companies Act, I haven't engaged in anything illegal. I've invited them to the Assembly several times. If they don't respond the first and the second time, I have the right to legitimately make decisions," Jurilj added.

That's illegitimate, claimed the Turks. They then filed a complaint and the measure was temporarily suspended in the Commercial Court. Jurilj was then asked not to send the invitation to Turkey but instead to their Zagreb branch. Unfortunately, another invitation to Turkey was sent, this time it really was an invitation for the Assembly, but when the Turks received it, because it takes some time for the shipment to reach Turkey, they claim that the Assembly had already been held.

"I did everything according to the law, if something was late, then that's not my fault, and they ignored my invitation to the Assembly for a couple of years," claims Jurilj.

They say they asked you to send it to the office in Zagreb.

"It's not written in the law, it says it's sent to the address of the centre. I sent them that invitation."

Doesn’t it feel like you wanted them not to come?

"I did everything according to the law."

Jurilj and his new partner Goran Pavlovic convened a new assembly, they called upon Turkish board members, and then Jurilj demanded that the Commercial Court in Zagreb, due to non-fulfillment of the partnership agreement, register the deletion of the Turkish company BLT from the project.

"Unfortunately, at the Assembly held without our presence, they made a decision that BLT must pay additional performance to Geoen," the lawyer added.

BLT reacted by submitting to the Commercial Court the measure according to which the exclusion of BLT could not be carried out. Unfortunately, at the Assembly held without our presence, they made a decision that BLT must pay additional payments to Geoen.

The Turks claim that in one year, Dragan Jurilj withdrew more than 80 million kuna...

The Turks have had the most objections to the court register. The response we received from the Commercial Court was: "Oh, we checked the court register and you aren't co-owners, plus there is no more Geoen and we have to suspend the proceedings."

They are directly accusing Jurilj of ''extracting'' more than 80 million kuna from the company since the summer of 2020.

"That isn't true, and secondly, BLT has expressed disloyal behavior, disrespect and made threats of lawsuits against banks, and threats to institutions that have succumbed to its influence ...", the Croatian businessman said, and the Turkish investors are now filing criminal charges for fictitious debentures.

"They managed to extract eight million euros paid by HROTE (Croatian energy market operator)," the lawyer added.

"At the same time, the bank isn't allowing me to dissolve the company's account, although I'm the director, the authorised person and the sole owner.'' said Jurilj.

What has HROTE got to do with it all?

What's going on now? The power plant is still working. In the first eight months, the power plant produced electricity worth 25 million on the market. There have been incentives worth 49 million. But those 75 million HROTE - the market operator with which the energy purchase agreement was signed - are no longer being given to anyone.

HROTE proposed to the court the establishment of a court deposit in which they would pay the funds. The court refused to establish a deposit, HROTE appealed and the appeal proceedings are ongoing. Dragan Jurilj, on the other hand, accuses HROTE of paying 25 million kuna to Geoen into a foreign account.

"I went to the bank on behalf of Geoen, and the order wasn't accepted. They came to HROTE to transfer my money abroad, HROTE isn't even the director of the company, it was reported to the institutions which deal with this, and that Turkish bank has been as well,'' said Jurilj.

HROTE replied that their actions were supported by appropriate court decisions and that Jurilj's allegation was unfounded.

If HROTE doesn't pay you, do you not have a contract stating how you'll perform your obligations to the workers?

“According to the workers we're dealing with, we have issues with the difficulty of paying the tax debt according to the budget because it is a debt from 2020 while BLT ran the project and while they were taking money from the project,” claims Dragan Jurilj.

DORH (State's Attorney Office of the Republic of Croatia) has been informed of the situation

We informed the DORH in a timely manner about the legal situation regarding Geoen, as well as about our actions. Given the many ongoing court proceedings, we don't wish to go further into commenting on the statements made by the opposing parties.

"They're ignoring the opinions of the law. They haven't yet transferred the energy purchase agreement and are putting the entire plant into question, and then it will only continue to harm BLT and me as a creditor member, and the state budget."

The chronology of court decisions shows that the Commercial Court in Zagreb and the court register acted faster in favour of Croatian businessman Dragan Jurilj, and slowly when decisions had to be made, they leaned more in favour of BLT.

"We were first deleted from the court register, we lost our stakes, and while we were fighting for those stakes, Geoen was attached to GS, and the economic entity was transferred to another Eco Consult entity."

They pointed out that they haven't so far been allowed to prove their claims in court.

"We have nothing to lose, I'm being honest, I know these are serious accusations being made against the judges. I wouldn't want to go that far, but when I look at the case, there are things I can't understand, some things can't be legally explained." the Turks claim.

"BLT constantly keeps going to all these institutions and claiming to have been damaged, that they're going sue the state, but they can't sue the state. They do have the right to demand compensation for those shares and they'll have them paid. Nobody is trying to run away from that fact," assured Jurilj.

In this dispute, both parties filed several criminal charges, the State Attorney's Office was informed in the meantime. Jurilj, on the other hand, is exploring a new geothermal field - Slatina dva, which is twice as strong as the power plant near Bjelovar, and there is a much bigger investment to be had in Slatina.

The Ministry of Economy failed to respond to our request. Although the representatives of the Turkish side claim: None of Jurilj's companies still has a legal basis for the exploitation of geothermal waters. They explained that the rights from the license can be transferred to another economic entity only if the Government, at the proposal of the Ministry, gives explicit prior written consent. However, Minister Tomislav Coric is not making any sort of move as far as this is concerned - yet.

For more, follow our business section.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Croatian Cup Round of 32 Recap: No Upsets, Rijeka with Biggest Victory into Last 16

September 23, 2021 - The Croatian Cup round of 32 came to a close on Wednesday, September 22, and the last 16 Croatian clubs in the competition are known. The round of 16 will be played on October 27. 

The SuperSport Croatian Football Cup round of 32 came to an end on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, reports HNS.

Rijeka was the most convincing in their victory, winning 7:0 against Pitomača thanks to goals by Bušnja (4′), Vučkić (36′, 54′), Vuk (49′), Abass (71′, 90′), and Obregon (88′-11m).

The defending champion Dinamo defeated Orient 1919 away 4:1, with goals by Čop, Leovac, Jurić, and Menalo. 

Perhaps the most exciting match happened in Senj, where Gorica was losing to Nehaj at halftime and turned the match around in the second half for the final 7:3. Lovrić, Pršir, Mitrović, Svast (own goal), and Dieye scored the 7 goals for Gorica's return. 

Lokomotiva was nearly shocked by Dugopolje but ultimately won only after eight series of penalties.

Thanks to an early penalty kick, Hajduk was shocked by Primorac Biograd, who scored for the lead in the 12th minute. Fortunately, Krovinovic equalized in the 42nd minute, and Ljubicic scored the winning goal in the 60th minute. 

Osijek had no issue in Beletinec and was better than Bednja thanks to 3 goals by Čeberk, Bočkaj and Daku. 

The round of 16 will be played on October 27, and a clash between the first division teams, Šibenik and Slaven Belupo, is a highlight of the next round. 

Croatian Cup round of 32 results:

Pitomača - Rijeka 0:7
Orijent 1919 - Dinamo 1:4
Dugopolje - Lokomotiva 8:9 (1:1)
Bednja - Osijek 0:3
Primorac Biograd - Hajduk 1:2
Vuteks Sloga - Istra 1961 0:3
Karlovac 1919 - Slaven Belupo 0:2
Mladost Ždralovi - Inter Zaprešić 3:1
Nehaj - Gorica 3:7
Međimurje - Šibenik 0:1
Rudar Labin - Split 2:0
Belišće - Jaska Vinogradar 4:0
Bjelovar - Rudeš 1:5
Sesvete - Varaždin 2:3
BSK - Cibalia 1:0
Zagreb - Oriolik 0:1

Croatian Cup round of 16 pairs:

Oriolik - Rijeka
BSK - Dinamo
Varaždin - Lokomotiva
Rudeš - Osijek
Belišće - Hajduk
Rudar Labin - Istra 1961
Šibenik - Slaven Belupo
Gorica - Mladost Ždralovi

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Calling All Young Split Developers: DUMP Launches Free Web Programming Courses

September 23, 2021 - Young Split developers will have the chance to learn about web programming for free, thanks to the DUMP association.

DUMP Association of Young Developers will soon organize an educational cycle of 5 free lectures entitled "School of Web Programming Basics" at FESB, starting on October 2 at 17:00.

1-dump-split.jpeg

The association is known for educating the local community and has been active for more than a decade. They have held over 20 cycles of lectures on topics like programming, hardware, design, marketing, and multimedia. Their most famous cycle is "School of Programming Basics," which has had 10 editions so far. Also, every year in mid-May, they organize the largest student IT conference in the Croatian language, DUMP Days.

3-dump-splsit.jpeg

This time, DUMP is preparing a cycle dedicated to front-end programming in which participants will master the process of creating a website. Prior knowledge is not required because it starts from the very basics of programming logic and basic concepts such as variables, inputs, and branching. Through the first two lectures, you will get acquainted with JavaScript and the background of creating the page itself, and the remaining 3 lectures will introduce you to the world of styling and animating a website using HTML and CSS.

4-dump-split.jpeg

Lectures are free, but you need to sign up on the Google Form. Registrations are possible until October 1 at 23:59 or until the maximum number of participants registers. The first lecture is already on Saturday, October 2, starting at 5:00 p.m. Lectures continue every Saturday at the same time and will be held at the FESB in Hall A100. Accompanying workshops are held on Sundays.

2-dumo-fesb.jpeg

Of course, after some lectures, the participants will have prize assignments, and the 3 most successful ones will also receive valuable prizes! More details about the event are available at www.dump.hr.

Author: Lucia Vukorepa, Photos Josip Svalina

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Austrian Company PicoPack to Begin Knin-based Packaging Production

September the 23rd, 2021 - Knin has faced economic issues for a long time now, with many people leaving for either Zagreb, seasonal work on the coast or heading abroad. The Austrian company PicoPack could be set to turn things around for this inland Dalmatian town as it sets up local production.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, an new opportunity is opening up Knin, known for its role during the Homeland War, to do better economically and become a European brand for polypropylene jumbo bags. These bags are applied in a wide variety of sectors, including the agriculture, petrochemical and food processing industries. These are highly sought-after products that are otherwise imported into Croatia, but with this move, the Croatian packaging industry will soon get its first representative in the segment of the production of industrial packaging for bulk products.

The Austrian company PicoPack had the best conditions offered to them in Knin

The Austrian company PicoPack Group, a manufacturer and distributor of industrial packaging, is finalising an agreement regarding its new project, which they have decided to implement right here in Croatia. In order to supply their numerous customers from Europe and the Russian Federation and to invest in production capacity of about 18,000 square metres, the investor chose Knin. The inland Dalmatian town was chosen above all other options.

The holder of the project is the newly established company Velebit ambalaza, in which the Austrian company PicoPack will hold a 51 percent share and the entrepreneur Goran Jerkovic will hold one of 49 percent. Austrian entrepreneur and leader of PicoPack, Manfred Pribyl, confirmed that good offers from other countries, such as Bulgaria, were also considered for the project, but the best conditions and in that sense support for the project, after Jerkovic's engagement, were received from Knin. The new Knin factory could be one of the largest in all of Europe, Pribyl says, adding that the company is expanding its production globally under the influence of the coronavirus pandemic, in response to increased transport costs and longer delivery times.

Production in India, organised sixteen years ago, is now being redirected solely to the African, Australian and American markets, but the model of how they work will be replicated at the Croatian Knin factory. In addition to the workers at the plant, they will additionally have a larger number of them in education within their small educational institution, so they will always have enough workers. Pribyl stated that he will motivate them with net salaries of up to 1,000 euros, but also with the distribution of about 20 percent of profits to workers every six months, which is an unprecedented positive example in recent entrepreneurial practice.

Since back in 2007, nine entrepreneurs have been operating in the Preparandija zone, but Knin is completing the reconstruction of two significant facilities, one of which is the former Kninjanka facility. According to the head of the Knin Administrative Department for EU Programmes and Economy, Josko Nedoklan, the project is worth around 33.34 million kuna, is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and the works on the facility should be completed by April 2022.

For more, check our our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Croatian Eurozone Accession: Changes to Begin as Early as Next Summer

September the 23rd, 2021 - Croatian Eurozone accession might still seem like a far away event on the domestic political stage, but it is edging ever closer and things are set to start being quite significantly different as of next summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, preparations for Croatian Eurozone accession have already started, and one of the measures is to ensure that prices don't increase significantly, which is something most people fear when asked what their worries surrounding the process of phasing out the Croatian kuna is.

Tihomir Mavricek pointed out that this will be among the very first things that will be tackled, and that the fixed exchange rate will be determined just before the decision of the EU Council on the introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency.

"It will be around 7.53, but it will finally be determined in May or June next year and will become valid from January the 1st, 2023. Until December the 31st, 2022, the commercial exchange rate will be valid, it'll be as we have it now," he explained for HRT.

"There's no need to be afraid of price increases"

Many people are afraid of price increases as a result of Croatian Eurozone accession, but Mavricek has assured that the practice of countries that have already adopted the euro has shown that the replacement of the national currency has had very little effect on price growth, ie inflation.

"The countries that first adopted the euro had a small so-called harmonised growth of the consumer price index, which ranged between 0.09 and 0.28 percentage points. Countries that later adopted the euro had one which stood at around 0.3 - so we don't expect any significant impact on prices, maybe of some 0.37 percentage points, with the biggest impact coming from services and a slightly smaller number of commonly used products, such as pastries and newspapers,'' said Mavricek.

After the introduction of the euro in neighbouring Slovenia, prices in transport, restaurants and hairdressing/beauty salons increased, while in Slovakia the prices of food and construction works increased.

"Research has shown that these increases mostly regard products that don't affect people with lower incomes when compared to those with higher incomes, such as sectors like accommodation services, restaurants, and sports services - these are usually services used by people with higher incomes," explained Mavricek.

For more on Croatian Eurozone accession, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

8000 Croatian Enumerators Active as of Monday as Part of 2021 Census

September the 23rd, 2021 - The Croatian census of 2021 is well and truly underway. With the possibility to fill in the census online through e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) due to expire on the 26th of this month, 8000 Croatian enumerators are set to take to the field for everyone else as of Monday.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as of Monday at 15:00, more than a quarter of the population of the City of Zagreb had successully self-registered on the 2021 census online. That is equal to (on the aforementioned date) 208,148 (25.72 percent of the capital's population, which is twice as many self-registered residents as in most Croatian counties. However, this was also expected given that the capital also has a larger share of younger, more educated and IT-literate population.

The demographically devastated counties of Vukovar-Srijem (8.92 percent), Lika-Senj (9.09 percent), Brod-Posavina (9.43 percent) and Virovitica-Podravina (9.61 percent) have the least self-registered inhabitants so far. After Zagreb, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County leads in those who have completed their self-census, in which more than a fifth of the population was registered through the e-Citizens system, 57,514 (20.46 percent), followed by Zagreb County, with 17.41% percent and then Istria County, with 15.23 percent of the local population having completed the process online.

Croatia's second largest county, Split-Dalmatia, with 447 thousand inhabitants, hasn't yet bumped up its numbers in terms of the census, because only 13.76 percent of the population self-registered in one week. However, it is better than Dubrovnik-Neretva, where 13.23 percent of the population had completed the process online. In Zadar, a mere 11.40 percent of local citizens enumerated themselves, and in Sibenik-Knin, just 11.93 percent of inhabitants did the same.

The share of enumerated residents in coastal counties is worthy of special emphasis, considering the fact that in these counties, people showed the least interest in responding to the public call and as such Croatian enumerators are still being sought, so it would be good to enumerate more people online in these counties.

In the largest Slavonian county, Osijek-Baranja, with 269.5 thousand inhabitants, 13.21 percent of residents had successfully registered themselves by Monday, which is the highest of all of the Slavonian counties.

More than 8000 Croatian enumerators are set to take to the field

Residents can, as previously stated, enumerate themselves until September the 26th, and they can also enumerate their elderly parents and/or grandparents who live in another household. This is followed by the second phase of the census from September the 27th to October the 17th, when almost 8,000 Croatian enumerators have to go out into the field to enumerate people who failed to enumerate themselves, as well as to perform controls and correct mistakes made during self-enumeration.

The census will be able to be conducted until October the 29th at the latest if needed.

A fine of 2,000 to 5,000 kuna can be imposed on people who refuse to provide their data for the census and those who provide inaccurate and incomplete data during the census. More than 1000 controllers supervise the work of Croatian enumerators, and they control the accuracy and coverage of all of the collected data.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Croatian Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem to be Mapped Once Again

September the 23rd, 2021 - The blossoming Croatian artificial intelligence ecosystem (AI) is set to be mapped, providing an in depth overview of the country's so-called ''AI landscape''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, last year, at the initiative of the Croatian Association for Artificial Intelligence (CroAI), the Republic of Croatia received the first overview of its AI ​​landscape, ie the visualisation of all stakeholders in the domestic artificial intelligence market (AI); from companies and startups to the wider Croatian artificial intelligence ecosystem. As the aforementioned association explained, such research is a necessary precondition to send out a clear message about the current situation regarding AI, but also the potential of the Croatian AI scene, especially since the ecosystem is wide because it includes people and institutions of different profiles and orientations.

This year, the Croatian artificial intelligence ecosystem will be mapped once again, so all local organisations that are in any way involved in the implementation, development, education, research or support of AI initiatives are invited to fill out the application form for AI Landscape on croai.org.

"Last year, we found out how many of us there are and where we're location, and this year we'll get the opportunity to learn more about how AI startups in Croatia do business, what challenges they face and what the opportunities on the domestic and global scene for all of us actually are. We'll get an insight into how much the market has changed in a year and what trend awaits us in the future.

The new mapping of the Croatian artificial intelligence ecosystem is an opportunity for all those who haven't yet applied or haven't been able to be identified do so as soon as possible, as we want to include all stakeholders, from small startups hidden in people's garages to large organisations that have launched initiatives to apply artificial intelligence in their work,'' explained Jan Stedul, the General Secretary of CroAI.

Last year, about 70 Croatian AI startups were identified, and the landscape of the Croatian artificial intelligence ecosystem consisted of a total of 170 companies, startups and organisations. The results last year also showed that about 80 percent of these startups were located in the City of Zagreb and the surrounding area, which isn't surprising. The share of women in the role of founders or co-founders stood at about 14 percent.

For the purpose of this research, they included more than 500 organisations, and the details will be presented on October the 14th, 2021.

“We expect growth across all categories, analyses are still ongoing and exact figures will be presented on October the 14th at the AI2Future conference, but it's already clear that in the last year alone, the market has developed with the advent of specialised AI incubators, that the course on the basics of artificial Intelligence Elements of AI has achieved great results and that AI initiatives have been launched in a large number of Croatian companies,'' said Stedul.

As they had more time and resources to condut their analysis into the Croatian artificial intelligence ecosystem this year, they were joined by Cohres, which is also a CroAI member, which has expertise in investment research, and Stedul says they are helping them significantly in analysing data and the investment potential of the artificial intelligence market.

“The startup market is very dynamic and changeable, so it's always a challenge to monitor and refresh things, but I believe we managed to do a good job thanks to quality incubators and accelerators that are the greatest help. The entire IT sector, and especially AI, has exploded in the last year, of course the coronavirus pandemic and the need for digitalisation have greatly contributed to this. But while the appearance of COVID-19 has accelerated the process, there's no doubt that it would have happened anyway. It is easier to list companies that haven't started implementing artificial intelligence than those that have. If a company still wants to remain competitive on the market, today it is almost impossible without the use of artificial intelligence,'' concluded Jan Stedul.

The CroAI association also announced recently that investors are looking for top AI startups that can sign up for the CroAI startup pitch until September the 25th, 2021, which will also be held as part of the AI2FUTURE conference on October the 14th this year.

For more on AI in Croatia, follow Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Waiter Took Daniela Adamcova to Krk, Croatia Spot: New Details Emerge

September 24, 2021 - Update at 22:00 Dana Adamcova: New Details, Chat with Mystery Croatia Woman Family

September 22, 2021 - It has been a day of revelation in the case of the mystery woman on Krk, Croatia. RTL Direkt interviews the waiter who took her to the remote spot she was found, and the American journalist who first identified her.

Yesterday, some 9 days after being rescued in a dehydrated and disorientated state with no memory of who she was, there was little information about the mystery woman on the island of Krk, Croatia, despite global news coverage. 

Day 10 since her rescue has been an altogether different affair. Two concrete leads from California enabled TCN to identify the woman as Daniela A. this morning. Her surname - Adamcova - has since been published, and details of an interesting past published

Croatian police confirmed that a 57-year-old Slovak woman was the mystery woman in a press statement, although they did not name her. 

But while her identity may have been established, there has been no information on how she came to be at the isolated spot on Croatia's largest island, or who was the first to work out her identity. A lot more light was shed on both these things in a television report for RTL Direkt Potraga on Croatian national television this evening.  The key points were covered in an article by Index.hr.

Adamcova is currently in the Rijeka KBC hospital. She is physically well, but she does not remember anything yet. In Slovakia, her family has been contacted, which should ease the whole situation.

RTL interviewed a waiter, Stiv Sviličić, who transported her to the bay with her friend. She had only 100 kuna with her.

"The lady came to my cafe, asking me about a ride to that fisherman's house so she wouldn't go on foot. And that same day my friends and I were planning on going to the sea. And I told her if she would wait for me to finish my shift, I could take her. And when I finished around 3:00, 3:30, we took her there and after that we went our own way, and she went her own way," Sviličić told RTL, which has worked out a chronology of the mysterious case.

The information provided by the waiter was the first real clue that brought the Krk police at least one step closer to revealing the identity of the poor woman who has been lying in a psychiatric ward in Rijeka for days without knowing anything about herself.

"Did she say who she was, what she was, where she was from? She said she was from the city of Bermington (Editor note: Birmingham?) in the United Kingdom, she said the name, but unfortunately none of us can remember, we forgot," said Sviličić.

By morning, she had forgotten him too. Sviličić and his friend transported her from Klimno to Sulinj Bay on Saturday at around 3 p.m.

"She spoke English, we communicated in English. Pretty good English. She didn't have that British accent, but she spoke English quite well. She had no money, so I treated her to coffee.” She had a backpack, a cell phone and a beach bag. She said she was going to meet up with friends. She told him that she had walked from neighboring Čižići.

Asked if there was anything weird about it in all of this, Sviličić replied, “No. No, she looked normal to me, just that she was a little tired from the sun because it was quite warm so she said she wouldn’t really like doing the whole circle, walking. Only a little bit of that, exhausted, but everything is OK anyway, "

She paid the boys properly, took the last 100 kuna out of her wallet when they unloaded her on the pier next to the fisherman's house."And what did she say why she was going there?" "So that she would meet her friends, 5, 6 of them would come. I don't know, we didn't talk too much, she just said she would meet with them, I didn't really ask too much because I wasn't interested, I just wanted to do her a favor so that she didn't have to walk too far."

That was on Saturday, Sept. 11, around 4 p.m.

"On September 12, at 8:30, the police received a report from a citizen that a woman near the sea shore, on the sea shore, was in a place or position in the so-called Sulinj, in the area of ​​Dobrinj municipality," said the head of the Krk Police Station, Dejan Hriljac.

She was mentally in a very bad condition, she spoke English. It was already clear to the police at that time that the lady was mentally in a rather bad condition.

"When the police arrived at the scene, the lady was visibly upset, visibly dehydrated, lost. It was obvious that she was not aware of where she was. When she arrived at the hospital, medical treatment revealed that she did not know hr identity, that she does not know where she was, that she did not know how she came to be in the place she was in. She knew absolutely nothing about the event and the circumstances, added Hriljac.

She was scratched, but without injuries indicating that she had been attacked.

"At first, the lady spoke English with some accent of the Slavic-speaking area. However, as time went on, we got information from the doctor, after all, and the police when she talked to her, that the English was getting better and better. So no more those mixtures of the Slavic dialect, but certainly the English-speaking area, "says Hriljac.

They took her fingerprints but did not find her in the Croatian database, which was expected since there are only fingerprints of persons who committed a crime in that database. So they sent her prints to colleagues in neighboring countries. And as her mental state did not change, the police published photos of her after three days and asked the citizens for help. One of the reports was crucial, and the woman's personal belongings were a mile away from where she was found, in terribly inaccessible terrain.

"So, we received about 30 reports that mostly came by e-mail, and these are people who came from Croatia, and even from America, a few, from Lithuania, France, the Netherlands, so from the European Union. These are people who they know people who look like the person who was found," Hriljac said.

The RTL journalist and the police chief had this conversation yesterday morning. One of those emails, it would be shown by the end of the day, was key to establishing her identity. At that time, the police did not know that yet. The only new thing that morning was that the police, after reporting the men who were driving her by boat, once again searched the terrain looking for the backpack and bag they mentioned.The photo shows the path they took looking for any clue. At least a mile away from where they found Daniela, in terribly inaccessible terrain, they found a backpack and hoped to finally find out who the unfortunate woman was.

"We found her belongings, so the police, in cooperation with the Public Fire Brigade of the city of Krk and the accompanying fire brigades from the island of Krk, repeatedly searched the terrain, which is really inaccessible over a large area. We found her personal belongings, a backpack. However, we did not find anything in the backpack that would lead us to that person's identity. But did you find some common things that tourists have? Common things, towels, clothes, shoes," says Hriljac.

And a completely empty wallet. No money, as she had told Sviličić, but no document. Except for a soaked notebook that revealed the first connection to Slovakia. But nothing personal that could confirm her identity.

"We visited her in the hospital, the police have been with the doctors and with her several times. in order to establish identity," Hriljac said.

."Simultaneously with what I have said, all diagnostic procedures should be taken to confirm or rule out any organic causes of amnesia or inability to remember, including head trauma, brain injury, concussion, epilepsy, stroke or some kind of demented development. In that sense, if we had some real, objective data from some other people," said Letica Crepulj, a psychiatrist at the Rijeka Clinical Hospital.

But they didn’t have info from anyone since in all those ten days no one has asked for Daniela.

"They called from the police station, gave us a description of the lady, asked if anyone had reported any disappearance, if we knew anything about it, let's ask local caterers, local agencies, renters if they have a missing or missing guest. However, no one knew anything. Now, the question is whether she may have been accommodated in one of the cottages in private accommodation, we don't know that part ", says the director of the Dobrinj Tourist Board Boris Latinović.

Did she come to Croatia by train?

That part is still unknown. However, what RTL Potraga published was that she allegedly came to Croatia from Slovakia by train. That latest information began to unravel last night, when the RTL journalist got in touch with a man who is one of the most influential in revealing Daniela's identity.

"Last Sunday I decided to take a break, open a newspaper, see what's going on in the world. I wanted to find something that would take my mind off research and the first thing I saw was that photo and story in The Sun, a British tabloid," says Forrest Rogers.

Forrest is an American journalist and a man who, among other things, helped the FBI detect the attackers on the Senate in January this year. He specialises in searching faces on the internet, but in this photo he was tormented by so much blood on her face.

"I took that photo and removed all the blood using the photo tools I have. Then I got a very good photo of the lady's face. I put it in the face recognition program I have and I was able to identify it with great certainty at a Christmas party in Los Angeles. California."

A mole in an identical spot on both of these photos gave another confirmation. But to make sure it was the same person and, after all, who it was, he got in touch with the other people in the photo, as well as with the staff of the organization where Daniela was at the party in 2014. And that's where he found out what makes it clearer why no one has been looking for this 57-year-old woman all these days.

"It was her second stay in Los Angeles and it wasn't that successful. It was 2014 and 2015. We all have problems sometimes. It was a very difficult period for her. She had a problem finding an apartment and a job," she says. .

She ended up with these problems in the association that published her photos. Namely, it is an organization that helps the homeless and people struggling with addiction. After all this information, it was no longer difficult to find out who it was. Forrest thanks the Krk police for that.

A woman without an identity was given a name and surname. The Slovak embassy will take care of it. But the priority is for doctors to bring her into a functional state. According to Potraga, her sister was also informed about everything. The goal has been achieved to some extent - she is connected with her family. About the case of disappearance, some other things remain unknown, at least for now.

If you have any relevant information about this story, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

16 Super Reasons to Visit Croatia Now: September October 2021

September 22, 2021 – The sun is shining and we'll still be swimming in the sea for some time yet, although the weather and warm Adriatic are far from the only reasons to visit Croatia now

Here are a full 16 reasons to visit Croatia now, in September and October 2021
The weather is fantastic and the forecast is great!

Screenshot_205.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot © Marc Rowlands

Screenshot_204.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot

The sea is still warm enough for swimming

242336077_6243047692432629_2508322542701942610_n.jpgSwimming in very late September 2021 on the Omiš riviera, one of the best reasons to visit Croatia now © Marc Rowlands

The very best Croatian food

241480915_6170941186309947_1327304007351009063_n.jpgDomestic bacon and prosciutto, a classic Croatian 'tapas' served at the last surviving inn on Biokovo mountain, Vrata Biokovo © Marc Rowlands

There's no shortage of the finest fresh fish and seafood now the rush have tourists have gone. Want to cook them for yourself? Buy straight from the fishermen on the beach. You can't do that in peak season – it all goes to the restaurants. Also, Croatia's fruit and vegetables are ripe and at their best right now.

241126505_6138144742922925_8968400606881277475_n.jpgUnique, miniature squid, served in ink, with a medley of fresh, roasted vegetables at the restaurant of Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo, 2021. Yes, this is how amazing food is at some campsites in Croatia © Marc Rowlands

From figs, melons, mushrooms and truffles to salad greens, pumpkins and mandarins, Croatia is currently the land of plenty. And, the lunchtime specials – Marenda (Dalmatia), Gablets (Zagreb) are outstanding and super cheap right now. Looking for an amazing 50 kuna lunch in Dalmatia right now? Try Konoba Marenda in Šibenik, Konoba Joskan in Omiš or Gastro Diva or Konoba Kalalarga in Makarska?

242356626_6243046882432710_3401854122891850972_n.jpgRoast beef and beetroot risotto with sour cream, pomegranate and apple. Marenda of Konoba Joskan in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Sports, activity and recreation

242223445_6222414447829287_952918838844562246_n.jpgCycling in Šibenik © Marc Rowlands

Now the temperature have grown more gentle, it's the perfect time to get sporty or active in Croatia. Why not try cycling and hiking in and around Šibenik? Or how about golfing in Zagreb? Inland Dalmatia is a great place for quad biking. Try it in Drniš, Knin, near Vrlika or in Imotski. If you want to try a range of activities and sports, then maybe head for Omiš. You can try canyoning, white water rafting, diving, mountain biking, hiking and a thrilling zip line in Omiš.

Peace, quiet, relaxation

IMG_3328defcvbnjuhgfcv.JPGThe peaceful beach at Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje, pictured in late September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The kids are mostly back at school, the students have finished partying and are returned to university. Right now, Croatia's campsites, beaches and lunchtime restaurants are quiet and chilled. Romantic couples walk undisturbed across the sands or sip wine as they watch the sunset. The only sound you often hear is the lapping of the waves against the shore.

Idyllic camping

IMG_3321edrfghjnk.JPGRelaxing and peaceful, individual terraces of each glamping unit in Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje © Marc Rowlands

If you want to get up close to nature, camping in Croatia is one of the best ways to do this. And, right now, the country's campsites are at their best. Incredibly peaceful and way under full capacity, there are no more children, families or teenagers. You can bring your own mobile home or even tent – it's cool enough to sleep under canvas now (tents are too hot during the height of a Croatian summer).

241130404_6149405168463549_8737034291319710149_n.jpgUnforgettable sunset views at Camping Rožac, Trogir © Marc Rowlands

Looking for a brilliant Croatian campsite for late September / early October 2021? Camping Rožac, Trogir here has incredible sunset views, whereas the beach at nearby Camping Labadusa here on Čiovo island's other side is a faultless slice of paradise. Further south, the glamping offer of Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje here is also among the finest in Croatia. All three sites are nestled under strongly scented pine trees, just metres from the shore.

IMG_2401dfvgbhnjkiuyhgb.JPGIncredible paradise beach at Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo © Marc Rowlands

Discover some of Europe's greatest white and sparkling wine in continental Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_2044fgvbnmjnhg.jpgVineyards of Koprivnica-Križevci County winemakers © Marc Rowlands

Been to the Croatian coast before? Then no doubt you've tried some of Dalmatia's famous red wines. Unlike other places, where white wines usually accompany the lighter seafood, pasta and fish dishes of the seaside and summer, on the Croatian coast it's the red wines that rule. Big, gutsy red wines like Plavac mali and Syrah are found by the Croatian Adriatic.

IMG_1802wsdfgh.JPGWinemakers of Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

Less well known are Croatian white wines Even more hidden are Croatia's sparkling wines. Because, if you want to find them, you have to move away from the sea and come inland. For the best sparkling wines, look to Zagreb County.

IMG_2122.JPGWinemakers of south Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

For brilliant white wines, there's a thick strip of continental Croatia you simply must get to know. Its north is the Drava river and the sandy soil runs along its length from Koprivnica and Đurđevac to the start of Baranja. Up into the hills of Baranja and to the border with Hungary the vineyards stretch. To the east, Aljmas and Erdut, to the south Ilok, then west through Kutjevo and back to Zagreb County. Now is the time of the newest wines, of harvest celebrations. Now is the best time to walk the wine roads and trails of this massive white wine super-region.

It's the perfect time for a city break

AnyConv.com__ETugIXoWoAA2NmI_1.jpgVisit Croatia now: Zagreb © Alan Grubelić

Nobody wants to be trapped in a bustling city in summertime's 40-degree heat. The high temperatures never subside. The concrete retains it. When things really heat up in Croatia, you need the cooler mountain air or the sea, which at night absorbs the heat of the day. But, right now is the perfect time to go exploring Croatia's bigger cities.

Why not try Osijek, with its kilometres of cycle routes and parks, epic riverside promenades and the best-preserved complex of baroque buildings in Croatia? Certainly, Osijek's Tvrda and its Secession architecture should be seen by everyone once.

croatia_slavonija_osijek_0001.jpgVisit Croatia now: Osijek © Romulić & Stojcic

Or, how about Zagreb, the country's social, cultural and economic capital? There are different happenings in Zagreb streets and parks almost every day. And the atmosphere is second to none.

In Istria, you can linger for much longer on the Roman Forum at this time of year. No need now for running urgently between shadows. You can instead afford to take your time as you wander around the epic Roman architecture here. You'll find more unmissable Roman architecture in Croatia's second city of Split, by way of Diocletian's Palace.

A packed events calendar

_MG_9181fgvbnh.JPGEvents of Zagreb parks 2021, captured by © Marc Rowlands

Croatia's event calendar explodes at this time of year. In Zagreb and Dubrovnik, famous music festivals fill the parks and streets. Elsewhere, this is one of the most important times of the year for food and drink festivals...

Harvest time

pumpkin-1768857_1920_1.jpg

It's harvest time, and when the local produce is collected from the trees or fields, usually there's an accompanying celebration. The party always extends well beyond championing the local produce. These are some of the best events in Croatia – accessible to all ages and appealing especially to gastro fans.

For example, Ivanić-Grad's pumpkin festival - Bučijada - always has a great music and entertainment programme attached. Held on October 1, 2 and 3 in 2021, it draws folks from far and wide to the pretty Zagreb County town. You won't have to look hard to find fun events like this all across Croatia at this time of year, celebrating everything from walnuts and almonds to grapes, olives and mushrooms.

Budget flights are still available

d75218b48e994601038e90bf5fc21f51_XL.jpgVisit Croatia now: Budget flights from Ryanair

Not only are budget flights still available, but the summertime routes to all Croatian airports are also still in play. Everywhere in Croatia is easily accessible right now. And for very little cost.

Last minute deals and inexpensive accommodation

AnyConv.com__IMG_3340edrfghjnmkjhgfd.jpgPrivate pool of the 4-star Boutique Hotel Noemia, Baška Voda © Marc Rowlands

It's no secret that prices plummet on Croatia's coast at this time of year. Smart operators do their best to extend the season by dropping prices. You can pick up incredible deals at this time of year everywhere from restaurant dining to luxury resorts, villas, apartments and hotels with full or half board.

Sailing in Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_3354ertyhujhgfd.jpgA regular visitor to Brela, Baska Voda and Split returned again in September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The season for sailing Croatia is nowhere near as short as that enjoyed by most sunbathers. You only need look at the daily newspapers to read about the latest luxury yacht to sail into Croatian Adriatic waters. But, you don't need to be a Russian oligarch to enjoy the beautiful bays, beaches and islands of Croatia. Charter yachts in Croatia can be found at reasonable rates – especially in late September and early October!

Volunteering

IMG_20210915_165305139_HDR.jpg2021 volunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Late summer, early autumn and spring are the best time to come volunteer in Croatia. In late summer and early autumn, it's the Adriatic that needs a little love. Volunteer divers undertake ecological missions to clean the seabed around the coast. It's surprising just how much trash falls into the seas after a summer season.

IMG_2818edcvbnhgf.JPGExperienced divers, pictured in 2021 at Trogir Diving Centre © Marc Rowlands

If you're a qualified diver, why not come and help out? Try Trogir Diving Centre here, the oldest diving school in Croatia. Or try Calypso Diving in Omiš here. There, you don't even need to be qualified - beginners can learn from scratch and earn their first diving certificates in return for their volunteering!

242151424_6227553893982009_4396189167021449696_n.jpgVolunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

It's the best time to explore Croatia's National Parks and Nature Parks

241316764_6170947642975968_6841343418900551668_n.jpgThe famous Skywalk of Biokovo Nature Park on the Makarska riviera in Dalmatia, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

In the preserved and protected wilderness of Croatian National Parks and Nature Parks, there's sometimes very little shelter from the sun. They can be tough to explore at the height of summer. Mountainous parks like Paklenica, Velebit and Biokovo have incredible hiking trails that are best enjoyed at this time.

241631995_6170951239642275_3522302139938915487_n.jpgBiokovo Nature Park peaks in 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Elsewhere, you can trace the waterways and waterfalls of Krka National Park, Kopački rit, Plitvice lakes and Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje in relative calm right now. No long lines of queueing tourists spoiling your photos. The island parks like Mljet, Kornati and Brijuni are all the more idyllic when there's nobody else around.

reIMG_5488.jpg

There are much worse places you could be working remotely

Working.JPGVisit Croatia now: September October 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Missing Person Peruća Lake: Body Found After Four Day Search

September 22, 2021 - The missing person Peruća Lake search sadly ended with the discovery of the body of Dominik Branimir Bilobrk who went missing last Saturday.

The four-day search for the 24-year-old Dominik Branimir Bilobrk sadly ended with the worst outcome possible.

As TV network RTL reports, police confirmed that the missing young man was found dead close to the place where he left to swim through Peruća lake, an artificial lake in Dalmatia. A little over an hour away from Split by car, Peruća is the third biggest lake in the entire country.

„The boat went to pull him over and bring him to land where investigation and identifying of the victim will take place. The family is already here. They await in sorrow“, said RTL on its website on Wednesday afternoon.

As Jutarnji List reported, Dominik Branimir Bilobrk from Obrovac Sinjski (half an hour drive away from Peruća) disappeared on Saturday. At the time of his disappearance, he wore short camo cargo pants, a short-sleeved black T-shirt, and black sneakers. The description said he was of „stringer physical build, “ and he drove away from his house in a Fiat brand car.

Big search for Bilobrk started on Monday morning around Peruća lake and its surroundings. Police, along with the Croatian Mountain Rescue (HGSS), from Split's station, and HGSS divers from across Croatia joined the search to find the missing 24-year-old. Dogs, drones and boats were used to find the missing young man. Along with professionals, ordinary citizens and Bilobrk's neighbors took part in the search too. Dogs, drones, and boats were used in hopes of finding the missing young man.

Following the interview of HGSS's search leader Ante Jukić, Slobodna Dalmacija wrote on Monday that both the car and the clothes dropped a kilometer away belonged to Bilobrk.

„Every eye on the field helps. The search is specific because we are on a suspected minefield, so we have to pay attention“, said Jukić on Monday, explaining how both civilians and professional troops must be careful in that area.
The finding of th clothes and cars shifted the focus of the search to the lake Peruća. Unfortunately, the search ended with a sad ending, as the exact reasons for Bilobrk's departure remain unknown.

Nestali.hr, a governmental site where Croatians can report missing people, states that in the last 23 years, there have been more than 24 000 missing people reported.
The majority of these cases, around 70%, are related to the war in the 90s.

For more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Page 7 of 3241

Search