Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Cyber Crime in Croatia Is Fastest Growing Security Challenge

ZAGREB, November 28, 2018 - Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović told a conference on the security of information systems on Wednesday that cyber crime in Croatia was the fastest growing security challenge and that it was particularly worrying that cyber competence and skills and the use of personal information on social networks can cause crises of international proportions, due to, among other things, the influencing of election outcomes.

"This is a new type of warfare – cyber warfare, which is silent, invisible and of which most people are unaware," Božinović said.

The gravity of the situation is best evidenced by data from 2016, when European citizens fell victim to more than two billion cases of data theft; more than 4,000 ransomware attacks occurred every day and 20% of industrial computers in the EU were attacked every month, he said.

A recent survey shows that the number of more significant cyber incidents in the first quarter of this year was 32% up from the same period of 2017, said Božinović.

Currently, phishing is very popular, with perpetrators trying to get hold of citizens' personal data in order to use them to exact payments that are difficult to recover, the minister said.

He noted that so-called CEO fraud attacks were an increasingly present type of cyber crime, with fraudsters claiming to be high-ranking bank or company officials that lure victims into paying a certain amount of money into a false account or making an unauthorised payment from a business account.

Božinović recalled that citizens and members of the business community were not the only ones to be targeted by cyber criminals because they also targeted states and important state institutions, which, he said, was what happened in Estonia in 2007, in Croatia in the past few years, and recently in Ukraine.

"I am talking about attacks that use psychological manipulation to disseminate disinformation, fake news and rumors and are designed to undermine citizens' trust in state institutions. Lately, we have not been spared fake news either, and in an attempt to nip this dangerous social phenomenon in the bud, Croatian police earlier this month filed a report for dissemination of fake and alarming news about migrants," said Božinović.

He stressed that cyber security had become a security priority and a decisive factor of development of the society and state in all their segments.

Božinović said that in terms of information, access to the Schengen information system was of great importance for Croatia, and recalled that cooperation with many countries outside the EU, such as the USA and Israel, and their specialised agencies, had been stepped up.

For more on cyber crime in Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Fake Text Messages Scandal Gets Worse

ZAGREB, November 27, 2018 - Commenting on depositions made by the suspect Franjo Varga in a scandal dubbed fake text messages, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has said that the more information comes to light, the worse it gets, and that all that requires further steps. "I expect the police, the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) and all relevant services to fully clarify everything," Plenković, who is the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader, told the press in parliament on Tuesday.

It seems to me worse and worse with every new piece of information coming to light, he said. All that requires further steps, he said but stopped short of specifying the steps.

Considering the fact that HDZ vice president and Parliament Deputy Speaker Milijan Brkić was mentioned in that scandal, Plenković answered the press that he did not know where Brkić was now, although he had expected to meet Brkić in parliament today.

Asked whether he should have asked Brkić to give him answers about the scandal, Plenkovic replied:"I am not the police".

"It is important to establish the facts, what is and what is not true. We are dealing with a story in which the main activity was fabrication. If it is true that a group of people was engaged in fabrication for some time, and it is evident to be true, then it is essential that competent bodies, the police and DORH as well as USKOK (Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime), fully clarify this story."

He went on to say that, being the head of government, he could not have all the information about investigations, and information about this scandal reached the public through some other channels.

Asked if this could be an attempt by some members of his party to topple him, Plenković said that this was about "a political game". "In a way, everything is possible," he said, adding that he had never felt any plot or threat.

These topics implicate some people who are on the other side of the law, there is no doubt, the prime minister said. When all the facts are established, we will see what to do next, he explained.

He said that he had discussed this scandal with Brkić when it broke out, yet since then they had not talked about that and would not. "Political responsibility is absolutely crucial and necessary. I am aware of that. Therefore I insist on the full clarification of the issue. Politically, we will also discuss this topic inside the party, when the time comes for that," he said.

In the meantime, the USKOK anti-corruption office on Tuesday said in a press release that "it is not the source of information," for an article in the Jutarnji List daily's Monday edition which published sections of a deposition by former IT specialist in the interior ministry, Franjo Varga, who was arrested in the fake text messages scandal and is currently in investigative custody.

"USKOK is not the source of information that was published on 26 November 2018 in a daily paper. Furthermore, even though, in accordance with the law, the investigation is not confidential but it is also not public, USKOK considers that publishing the contents of evidence taken during an investigation, damages the progress of the criminal procedures," USKOK said on its web site.

Varga is currently in investigative custody on suspicion of writing false correspondence between former chief state prosecutor Dinko Cvitan and a judge on the panel in the Zdravko Mamić trial before Osijek County Court, according to which Cvitan allegedly pressured the judge, prior to the delivery of a verdict, to convict one of the accused without evidence.

Apart from that, Varga compiled new fake correspondence alleging pressure on Supreme Court judges who were to decide on the defendants' appeals. He intended to give these fake texts to Mamić to use as evidence in the appeal procedure.

Blaž Curić, a chauffeur for Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić, was later arrested on suspicion of warning Varga that he was going to be arrested for creating the false text messages.

In addition to describing his relationship with former football mogul Zdravko Mamic, in his deposition, Varga also spoke about his cooperation with former HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko, deputy leader Milijan Brkić and the former owner of the Agrokor food conglomerate, Ivica Todorić.

For more on the fake text massages scandal, click here.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Croatian Police Arrest Weapon Smugglers

ZAGREB, November 22, 2018 - Croatian police have busted a five-member criminal ring charged with having ordered a large quantity of hand guns and weapon parts online from the USA, which arrived in Croatia under false declarations at the address of the criminal ring's alleged organiser. The weapon smugglers are four Croatians aged 42, 63, 59 and 34, and a 31-year-old Dutch national, the Ministry of the Interior has said.

The USKOK anti-corruption agency has said that the five persons are under police investigation for the unlawful possession, production and procurement of weapons and explosives.

In the period from early 2018 to November 21, the suspects formed a criminal ring in the area of Split-Dalmatia County and Zagreb to acquire illegal gain by continually buying large quantities of firearms and weapon parts in the United States and selling them on the black market in Croatia.

The arms thus procured were falsely declared as car and motorcycle parts or toys.

The ring involved a postal customs official who made it possible for parcels with hand guns or their parts to avoid customs control.

The Ministry of the Interior has said that three of the suspects have been placed in custody, one, a 31-year-old man, is currently beyond the reach of the police, while one has already been in investigative custody on the charge of holding large quantities of arms and ammunition as well as a large quantity of money in his home.

The Ministry of the Interior said that during its investigation into the case it had cooperated very well with the police forces of the USA and Great Britain, as well as with the Croatian Customs Administration and the Croatian Post.

For more on the activities of Croatian police and the fight against weapon smugglers and other forms of organised crime, click here.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Police Exhibits Forged Artworks in Osijek

In the building of the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek, the Police Museum and the Police Administration of Osijek-Baranja County have organised an exhibition of forged artworks found by the police during their investigations. This truly unique exhibition is titled “The Beauty of False Glitter”, reports on November 21, 2018.

Forged artworks are certainly some of the most interesting exhibits in the permanent collection of the Police Museum. The collection consists of about seventy forgeries, mostly paintings (oil on canvas), as well as several sculptures.

The majority of forgeries are attempts to recreate works by Croatian painters such as Edo Murtić, Zlatko Prica, Ljubo Ivančić, Mersad Berber, Dimitrije Popović, Đuro Pulitika, Vasko Lipovac, Miljenko Stančić, Vladimir Kirin, Oscar Herman, Boris Bućan, Ivan Rabuzin, Ivan Generalić, Ferdo Kovačević, Dragica Cvek Jordan, Slava Raškaj, as well as the sculptures of Dušan Đamonja and Vojin Bakić.

Among foreign authors “represented” at the exhibition, forged artwork by Salvador Dali and Renoir are the most prominent.

By presenting this exhibition, the police want to warn citizens about the unscrupulousness of players who operate on the black market, who are willing to do everything in order to make a profit, including deceiving uninformed buyers.

The opening of the exhibition was attended by Osijek Mayor Ivan Vrkić, who thanked the police for bringing the exhibition to Osijek and for raising awareness among citizens about the need to be very careful if and when they decide to buy expensive artwork.

The exhibition will be open until November 30. All those interested to see it can come to the Croatian National Theatre building in Osijek daily from noon to 8 pm. The entry to the exhibition is free.

Similar exhibitions have already been presented in several Croatian towns and have proven to be a success with the general public.

For more on the Croatian police, click here.

Friday, 26 October 2018

UNICEF Croatia to Cooperate in Tackling Juvenile Delinquency

ZAGREB, October 26, 2018 - UNICEF Croatia and the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor on Friday signed an agreement on strengthening the capacity of the Croatian prosecutorial authorities in tackling juvenile delinquency in the period between 2018 and 2020, with the aim of education and prevention of juvenile crimes.

"Children and teenagers who run afoul of the law need our attention and care at all levels. Before they become adults, the society has the last chance to support them in taking responsibility for their own actions and their own lives, with the assistance of professionals. Therefore, it is extremely important to have experts who can encourage positive changes in the behaviour and lives of children that have run afoul of the law," said the head of the UNICEF Croatia office in Zagreb Valentina Otmačić.

In 2017, 1,883 juvenile delinquents were reported to judicial authorities.

Chief State Prosecutor Dražen Jelenić said that the agreement would help the efforts of prosecutors for juvenile delinquency.

Under the agreement, 98 state prosecutors for juvenile delinquency and 20 experts who are not jurists will be additionally trained to work with juvenile delinquents.

(Hina) ms

Monday, 22 October 2018

Suspects in “Fake Text Messages” Affair to Remain in Custody

ZAGREB, October 22, 2018 - The Osijek County Court has decided that former police IT specialist Franjo Varga and Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić's chauffeur Blaž Curić will stay in custody for two more months. Varga is suspected of creating fake text messages for former Dinamo football club executive Zdravko Mamić, while Curić is suspected of having tipped off Varga that he was under police investigation and was about to be arrested.

Friday, 28 September 2018

“Text Messages Scandal” Ministerial Driver to Remain in Jail

ZAGREB, September 28, 2018 - The Osijek County Court ordered on Thursday that Blaž Curić, a chauffeur for Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić, be remanded in custody for a month as proposed by the USKOK anti-corruption office.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

“Text Messages” Scandal Leaks a National Security Issue

ZAGREB, September 27, 2018 - Commenting on the "fabricated text messages" affair, the head of the parliamentary home affairs and national security committee Ranko Ostojić of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) warned on Wednesday that "information involving the investigation is leaking" and that there was a possibility that some powerful people were using their position of privilege and privileged information for showdowns within their party, which was very dangerous for national security.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Nigerian Pirates Kidnap Croatian Sailor

The Croatian sailor and 11 of his kidnapped colleagues were sailing on a Swiss cargo ship.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Investigation Launched into Fake Texts to Football Boss Zdravko Mamić

ZAGREB, September 22, 2018 - The USKOK anti-corruption office said on Saturday it has launched a probe into a 36-year-old suspected of being the author of fake text messages that former Dinamo football club official Zdravko Mamić claimed proved that former state prosecutor Dinko Cvitan had put pressure on Osijek County Court during a trial against him and three other accused.

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